CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Customers will see their bills increase after West Virginia American Water received approval for a joint agreement as part of its 2023 infrastructure replacement program, Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC).

In an order entered Friday, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) approved the joint agreement between West Virginia American Water, PSC staff and the PSC’s Consumer Advocate Division.

According to a release from West Virginia American Water, the DSIC program involves $48.7 million in system-wide upgrades for 2023, including “$31.0 million to replace or upgrade more than 16 miles of water mains; $6.4 million to replace service lines and fire hydrants; $9.3 million to replace water meters; and $2.0 million for post-acquisition investment on troubled water systems,” and will reportedly help the company to receive “more timely cost recovery of certain infrastructure investments” and “accelerate its infrastructure replacement and reliability program.”

The program will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

To fund the program, customers’ monthly bills will see a 5.98 percent surcharge, though most will see a prorated amount, or amount for what was used, on their first 2023 bill, “depending on their meter reading and billing schedule.”

“West Virginia’s infrastructure recently received a ‘D’ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The purpose of a DSIC is to address the national challenge of aging water infrastructure by directing additional investment to areas where improvements are most needed,” said Robert Burton, president of West Virginia American Water. “All parties involved in the agreement acknowledged the accelerated investments we’ve made since incorporating this surcharge in 2017 and recognize that this investment is a significant priority in the best interest of customers.”