Meetings and Events

The Lewes BPW is responsible for keeping our city connected through the services we provide. We are committed to provide exceptional service in all four departments: electric, water, wastewater, and storm water. The ratepayers are an important part of that process and we invite you to join our meetings and events. The BPW values your input!

Electric Rate Increase

Lewes Board of Public Works (BPW) has served the Lewes community for over 120 years and continues to strive to bring our consumers the lowest rates possible. With that said, there are many factors that influence how the rates are structured. When customers pay their electric bill, they’re not just paying for the electricity itself. […]


The Power Cost Adjustment or PCA is utilized to reconcile over or under collections of power supply costs which are incorporated in our wholesale power costs i.e. what the BPW is paying for the power that is supplying/selling to it’s customers. The PCA is calculated monthly, based off a rolling average, and as in the past, can fluctuate between a credit and a charge depending on the energy market. To help customers with the impact of the PCA, the BPW offers programs such as Efficiency Smart to help with conservation, rebate programs, and much more. For further assistance, please contact the BPW office at 302-645-6228. Thank you for your continued support.

Call the Lewes BPW at: 302-645-6228 or email us: Contact us

City Taxes, Building Permits, Business Licenses, Parking Meters, Trash Cans and Trash Removal, Recycling and Yard Waste, Street Cleaning, City Sidewalks and Road Repairs/Maintenance and Snow Removal.  The phone number for the City of Lewes is 302-645-7777.

Yes, the City of Lewes, per the enactment of the BPW Charter approved in 2010 pays for all utility services.

In fiscal year 2022/2023, the BPW paid the City of Lewes $797,246  in “payment in lieu of franchise fees”.

Yes, the City of Lewes currently receives 5% of the gross revenues from the BPW in the form of “payment in lieu of franchise fees”. In 2010 the Delaware State Legislature approved “AN ACT TO REINCORPORATE THE CHARTER OF THE BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS OF THE CITY OF LEWES” It states: The BPW shall pay to the City a minimum of two percent (2%) to a maximum of five percent (5%) of the monthly adjusted revenues for utility services (gross revenues for utility services less adjustments made to customer accounts), in lieu of franchise fees, no later than thirty (30) days after the utility bills are mailed to customers each month. The City shall pay monthly out of the general fund of the City to the BPW for utility services, including street lighting, such sum as the BPW may prescribe by tariff.

Thomas Panetta, President; Barbara Curtis, Vice President; D. Preston Lee, Secretary; Richard Nichols, Treasurer and  Robert Heffernan, Assistant Treasurer.  The monthly Board meeting are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month at City Hall council chambers 114 E. Third Street.  To leave a message for the Board Members please contact the business office at 302-645-6228.

The BPW processes all wastewater at the Howard Seymour Water Reclamation Plant of the City of Lewes at 116 American Legion Road.

BPW Customers can arrange to have a separate water meter installed on their property for irrigation. There is a charge for the installation of the meter and a monthly “Ready to Serve” charge applies to the new meter. Savings are realized by avoiding sewer charges on the irrigation consumption. What is involved in getting an irrigation meter?  Click here.  

The “Ready to Serve” fee is charged whether or not electric, water or sewer is used by the resident to cover maintenance of the systems supporting customers and fixed business costs associated with management of the utility. The electric, water and sewerage “Ready to Serve” charge on your bill is calculated based on the size of your meter. The size of a house meter is typically based on how anticipated consumption determined by the contractor who built the house.  As long as the meter is installed, you will be billed the service charge. The charge is based on BPW’s infrastructure and management overhead costs even if you don’t use any electric, water or sewer services. These costs include maintaining the wastewater treatment plant, water treatment and pumping station, water wells as well as the miles of electrical transmission lines, transformers and other electric facilities; miles of water pipe and sewer main; 300 fire hydrants and rent on the BPW portion of City Hall. Additionally, a significant portion of each “Ready to Serve” covers repayment of the BPW long term debt. Monies borrowed were through the City of Lewes as general obligation bonds to the public and the State of Delaware Revolving Funds to pay for capital projects of the electric, water, storm water and sewer departments.

Not only is hydrant flushing one of the most important maintenance practices that can be performed on a water distribution system, it allows us to check for any leaks as well as the condition of the valves.  Also, it helps to flush out corrosion and rust.  This important practice is done in the Spring and Fall, which is posted on the BPW’s website. Flushing of fire hydrants is one of the most important maintenance practices that can be performed on a water distribution system.   In the flushing process, the BPW looks for and tests for the following:  
  • Visible and audible leaks
  • Proper operation of valves
  • Flushing out corrosion & rust
  • Pitot Testing: Provides measurement of flow and gallons per minute and pressure from hydrants. Test is done as needed.
  • Color of the water
  If ignored, corrosion and rust can cause problems such as: severe rusty water, reduced water pressure, and lower chlorine levels. Replacing water that has been standing in the system with fresh water is especially important in dead end main areas and low flow areas in the system. Flow testing of fire hydrants is done in cooperation with the Lewes Fire Department to identify the amount of water a certain fire hydrant can deliver during an emergency. This service is done on a continuing basis so that problems can be identified and then resolved.

The BPW has determined that funds are required to maintain the stormwater system and plan for future improvements and public safety. The Storm Water Fee covers maintenance to keep the storm water pipes open throughout the service area and ensures that major road arteries are kept open in time of rain events for the “greater good of the community”. This fee only meets current operational and maintenance needs for the backbone system. Storm water runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated.  Depending on the intensity and duration, storm water does often run off pervious areas such as lawns, golf courses and farm fields. Since this water can’t be absorbed into the ground and returned to the natural water cycle, it needs to be managed. Storm drains on the street and other surfaces allow the storm water to be diverted thereby mitigating street flooding and water damage to homes and businesses.   The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the cornerstone law of surface water quality protection in the United States. The implementing regulations from CWA and other Federal and State laws are increasing every year.   Historically, storm water was directed straight to surface water such as the canal without treatment. Present regulations require new developments such as Pilottown Village, Canary Creek, Anglers Nest, Hotel Blue, etc. to have retention basins to settle out some contaminants.  Although not generally required in tidal areas, storm water discharge rate control structures are also required to assure the rate of runoff from a site post- development does not exceed the pre-development rate.   The BPW encourages Lewes property owners to include rain gardens, rain barrels, and maximize porous surfaces in their landscaping designs to minimize storm water runoff. The City of Lewes uses street cleaning machines to keep curb and gutter areas clear of debris, allowing more efficient collection of storm water catch basins. It is important for residents to keep storm drains clear of debris and prevent litter from entering catch basins as ultimately this will end up in the inland bays.

The BPW has a responsibility to maintain the equipment used to service its customers. The BPW typically does tree-trimming in the late fall/winter months so that the branches in need of trimming are most visible. Vegetation removal is done year round on an as needed basis. When conducting these trimming operations, the BPW works hard to strike a balance between respecting private property and public safety.   Rights-of-way and Easements: Provisions of rights-of-way and easements typically grant the BPW the authority to trim trees without additional property-owner permission to provide for a safe and reliable electric system. However, the BPW respects the property of its customer-owners and will notify the property owner of the need for tree work before trimming is done on their property. In unusual or emergency situations, it may be necessary to trim trees without first notifying the property owner in order to restore service or eliminate safety hazards. The BPW recommends the removal of trees that will require extensive trimming on a regular basis.   Access to BPW Equipment: Access to BPW equipment is very important for safety as well as the equipment performance. The Board requires clear access to all BPW equipment including pad mounted equipment with a minimum of ten feet of unrestricted space in front of a pad-mounted transformer and three feet on all other sides of the equipment. Obstructions (such as fences, shrubs, trees, storage sheds, etc.) should not impair entry into the transformer. Obstructions may be removed without notice. Any obstruction in front of a transformer presents potential safety risks to the personnel trying to access it. For your protection, avoid making contact with pad mounted electrical equipment. Never allow children to play on or near pad mounted electrical equipment. BPW pad mounted equipment include: transformers, switch gear, sectionalizing cabinets, and secondary risers.   Responsibility of Property Owners: Many people are unaware that electric utilities have the right and authority to maintain its electrical transmission and distribution facilities in a manner that promotes a high standard of safe and reliable service. Similarly, property owners, on whose land these facilities are located, have an obligation to allow these electric utilities to perform reasonable maintenance and upkeep of its facilities. Property owners must maintain adjacent public utility easements or rights-of-way in a safe and sanitary condition. Fences enclosing easements must be kept structurally sound. No fences are permitted to enclose electric utility facilities.  All vegetation on public utility easements or rights-of-way must be trimmed to allow utility service at all times.

The BPW electric rates are one of the lowest in the State of Delaware . This rate comparison included the Lewes BPW “Ready to Serve” charge and associated tariffs for the other utility providers. We at the BPW are always working to provide fair rates to our customers. A word of caution is appropriate when attempting to compare Lewes BPW rates with other cities: the comparison made between the Lewes BPW and any other utility will always be an apple-to-oranges comparison since no two utilities are identical in all business factors (population served, debt, seasonality of customer usage, age of infrastructure, etc.).

Call the Lewes BPW at 302-645-6228 and a representative from our Message Service Center will be available to assist you and will contact the BPW Employee on call.

Call the Lewes BPW at 302-645-6228


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