Kanawha Co. commissioners, Charleston Mayor ask water company to hold the line on increases

Donaldsonville water now safe to drink (Courtesy: MGN Online)
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Kanawaha County commissioners and Charleston Mayor Danny Jones are joining forces in the battle to stop any more increases of customers' West Virginia American Water bills.

In a letter to WVAW President Jeff McIntyre, the two groups are asking the company to "engage in a self-imposed moratorium on increasing the cost of water service," no matter what the method of raising rates would be.

Last week, city leaders told WSAZ that the water company sent a letter to the governmental body letting members know that they planned to seek a surcharge as a part of a "Infrastructure Replacement Plan."

WVAW said last week that they've not decided how much they will seek in the surcharge request or when it will be filed with the state Public Service Commission.

The news about the surcharge comes on the heels of the PSC's granting of a 15 percent increase to water rates for the public generating an additional $18.2 million annually for the company to cover costs of projects that have already been completed.

The new rate means an increase of about $6.26 on an average customer's bill.

"The timing of this request by West Virginia American Water borders on being offensive," Mayor Danny Jones said Monday in a news release.

"Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy said, "Bottom line, it is entirely unfair to require the public to pay more for water this soon."

WVAW says the new surcharge is needed to pay for improvements that will be made to cover future infrastructure projects.

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