Water rates going up for Pennsylvania American customers

Pennsylvania American Water customers bills are going up, but not as much as the company would like.

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a revenue increase Thursday of $26 million, or a 4.5 percent rate increase, in a 5-0 vote.

The increase was less than the $58.6 million, or 10.1 percent, the company had requested and was the result of a settlement between the PUC’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, the Pennsylvania Office of Small Business Advocate, the Commission on Economic Opportunity, the Pennsylvania American Water Large Users Group and Pennsylvania American Water itself.

The approved increase in annual revenue is spread across Pennsylvania American water and wastewater regions in the state.

According to a Pennsylvania American release, the increase will maintain a cost of approximately one-cent per-gallon of water and increase average residential water bills by less than $3 per-month.

According to Pennsylvania American an average residential customer uses 3,960 gallons of water per-month and will see an increase in their monthly bill from $52.51 to $55.45.

“We believe this is a fair and reasonable settlement that balances our customers’ interests with the company’s need,” Pennsylvania American President Kathy Pape said.

Pape cited the need to recover, “hundred of millions of dollars”, in system improvements as the driving force behind the increase.

According to the statement, Pennsylvania American has spent approximately $731 million on system improvements since its last rate case in 2011.

Besides the water rate increases, the case also included rate increases for wastewater customers in Coatesville, Claysville, Clarion and the Poconos region.