Customers respond to W.Va. American Water request for another rate hike
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - For Gregory Baker, who is on a fixed income, every penny matters.
“You have to re-evaluate what you’re spending and you have to cut out things that you shouldn’t have to be cutting out,” Baker said.
However, when his utility bills keep going up, the frustration mounts -- and the extra cash is hard to come by.
Since 2015, West Virginia American Water customers have faced two rate increases.
There was a 15% rate hike in 2016, then another 14% increase in 2019 -- forcing the average customer to pay nearly $13 more for water between the two increases.
Then just this past January, customers started paying a nearly 7% surcharge.
Now the company is asking to raise rates again-- this time by nearly 20%
If approved, an average customer could pay an additional $11.26 each month.
This increase comes after a study conducted in 2017 that ranked West Virginia American Water the eighth most expensive water provider in the United States. That was before the last two increases.
“Something has to be given up because there’s only so many dollars that you receive each month on your disability and you have to make it work so that when they throw that on top of it, it’s not gonna work,” Baker said.
The company says it needs the extra money for various improvement projects.
However, customers like Baker are worried another increase could tap their wallets.
Since there is a 10-month review process for rate increases, the water company feels this gives customers a sufficient amount of time to adapt.
The earliest an answer would be given from the Public Service Commission on this latest rate increase request is February of 2022.
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