Following a 10-month review, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) issued an order today approving a settlement agreement that establishes new rates for West Virginia American Water’s 171,000 water and wastewater customers. The joint stipulation was reached between the PSC staff, Consumer Advocate Division (CAD) and West Virginia American Water and filed with the Commission on July 9, 2013.
The main driver in West Virginia American Water’s request was the approximately $85 million of system improvements the company made since 2009, which is the year on which customers’ current rates are based. These capital investments included upgrades to the water distribution system, water treatment facilities, storage tanks, pumping stations and computer systems. “These prudent investments were necessary to enhance customer service and maintain water quality, service reliability and fire protection for approximately one-third of the state’s population that we serve,” said West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre.
The Commission’s order approves a change in base rates that will result in an increase in water revenues of $8.365 million and wastewater revenues of $106,261. New rates will go into effect October 11, 2013. Under these new rates, the average monthly residential water bill (based on 3,315 gallons) will change 6.7 percent from $39.11 to $41.88, and the average monthly Fayetteville residential sewer bill will change 14 percent from $35.78 to $40.92. The company agreed not to file another general rate case for water or wastewater prior to January 1, 2015.
“We appreciate the Commission’s thorough examination of and ruling on this joint stipulation, which all parties agreed is a fair and reasonable resolution that eliminates the additional expense of full litigation before the Commission,” said McIntyre. “The settlement was based on extensive negotiations and substantial compromises by all parties, and with the Commission’s modifications, we still believe this order is a fair and reasonable resolution with the best interest of our customers at its core.”
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