D.C. Water said Wednesday that it plans to use a segment of its $21 million surplus to give small rebates to its customers.

The utility said the average household would receive a refund of about $9 by April. The rebates will take the form of credits that will be applied to customers' bills.

"Our customers trust us to spend their money wisely," George Hawkins, D.C. Water's general manager, said in a statement. "We take that stewardship responsibility very seriously. This past year, our teams did the job with a little less than we anticipated, and we felt the right thing to do is to give some of that back to our customers while also offsetting a little of the upcoming rate increases."

The decision to grant rebates came months after heightened rates and an increased surcharge sent typical water bills climbing by nearly $70 a year.

And the D.C. Council in December approved a measure that would add up to 30 cents a month to water bills so the city could bankroll a flood relief fund.

Mayor Vincent Gray opposed the proposal, but he has not decided whether he will veto the measure.