CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – West Virginia American Water filed a request with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) to adjust its water and wastewater rates.
According to a press release from WVAW, the request is driven by infrastructure investments made by the company to continue providing safe and reliable water and wastewater service.
“Since our last rate case, we will have invested $252 million in infrastructure upgrades, including replacing more than 48 miles of aging water and sewer pipelines and upgrading treatment facilities, storage tanks and pumping stations,” said Robert Burton, president of West Virginia American Water. “These infrastructure investments help ensure continued water quality, service reliability and fire protection for more than 545,000 people in 365 communities who depend on us every day.”
“Not only are these investments critical to the public’s health and safety, but they also support the economic health of the communities we serve,” Burton continued. “This level of investment over a four-year period is estimated to support more than 3,900 jobs across the state and region.”
If the company’s proposed rates are approved as requested, the average residential water customer using 3,100 gallons per month would experience an increase of $11.26 per month, or $0.38 per day. The average monthly residential sewer bill would increase from $54.14 to $71.84. The PSC will undergo an extensive investigation and analysis of the company’s filing, and any new rates set by the Commission would not be effective until February 25, 2022 at the earliest.
Commissioners in Kanawha County did not view the rate increase request favorbly. Commission President Kent Carper said, “I’m appalled and disgusted by the actions of West Virginia American Water with this Friday news drop. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Our citizens continue to suffer financially and hope to get back on their feet — now is not the time to increase utility bills. I’ve immediately ordered this matter be added for discussion on our May 6th agenda. We are elected to take action and protect our citizens, and we will take this matter seriously, invoking legal action if we have to.”
Commissioner Ben Salango noted, “The timing of WVAW’s rate increase request could not be worse. The County Commission will fight this unfair rate hike and ask that the Public Service Commission dismiss the request.”
Commissioner Lance Wheeler added, “An increase of this size is not called for, it is more than most residents and businesses can afford. The Commission will discuss this matter at our next meeting and we will take action.”