CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water customers soon will be paying more on their water and sewer bills, according to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia.
On Friday, the PSC approved a rate increase request that means the average WVAW residential customer will be paying $6.65 more each month -- a 14 percent increase. It says residential sewer customers will see an increase of $8.33, or 17.5 percent, on their monthly bill.
Charleston resident Erin Turner said it's suspicious that the rates happened after water crisis checks went out. "Oh they hand out money and we suddenly have a lot of faulty meters and we have this rate increase," Turner said. "Yeah, it makes you suspicious."
A group called Public Water Now did a study on the most expensive water providers in the U.S. in 2017. They found West Virginia American Water in the Kanawha Valley ranked number 8 on that list. A rate increase could place them even higher on the list of expensive providers.
While most people did not like the idea of paying more money per month, other people in the Kanawha Valley understand clean water can be expensive. "I think people tend to just take utilities in general, and all city and government services, let alone private utilities for granted," Charleston resident Leah Macia said.
Macia said she hears many people complain about bad water, but thinks an increase could help fix that. "I know that's an unpopular position," Macia said.
The rates are due to go into effect by Feb. 25.
Under the terms on the agreement, WVAW is prohibited from seeking a further rate increase until April 2021.