CHARLESTON, W. Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--West Virginia American Water today filed a request with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) to adjust its water and wastewater rates. 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.
West Virginia American Water’s rates are based on the actual cost of providing water and wastewater service. To help mitigate the impact to customers, the company works to control costs and operate efficiently and offers bill assistance and payment arrangements to customers who need them. Through its H2O Help to Others Program™, the company provides financial assistance to low-income customers who qualify, including emergency grants, bill discounts and education.
“By making prudent, ongoing investments to maintain and upgrade our water and wastewater systems, West Virginia American Water is committed to protecting our communities from public health concerns and quality of life issues associated with failing infrastructure,” said Burton. “At the same time, we remain steadfastly committed to addressing the needs of our most vulnerable customers.”
Burton emphasized that West Virginia American Water responded to the hardships that COVID-19 has had on residents and businesses by placing a moratorium on shutoffs and having local staff make more than 10,000 phone calls to eligible customers to encourage application for CARES Act utility assistance grants. He underscored that the company’s rate request comes as a result of investments made long before and throughout COVID-19, and that any new rates will not take effect until early 2022. As part of this request, the company is proposing enhancements to its customer assistance program to further help water and wastewater customers in greatest need.
“We understand the current environment caused by the pandemic, but we also remain focused on meeting the future needs of our customers through sound infrastructure and public health protection,” Burton continued. “I want to emphasize that this request is not driven by the pandemic and is based on our need to continue ongoing infrastructure improvements. We will work with the Commission to address any issues they raise while they review our request.”
The company’s request includes revenue increases totaling $40.8 million or 26.1 percent over the company’s current rates. Factoring in the company’s current Distribution System Improvement Charge on customer bills, the actual increase customers would experience totals $30.9 million in annual revenue or 19.7 percent over current rates.
For more information on the company’s rate proposal and to find out what actions customers may take, please contact customer service at 1-800-685-8660 or visit westvirginiaamwater.com and select “Your Water and Wastewater Rates” under the Customer Service menu.
West Virginia American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water services to approximately 545,000 people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help make sure we keep their lives flowing. More information can be found at westvirginiaamwater.com.