Request driven by $1.64 billion invested to address aging water and wastewater infrastructure; Company proposing enhancements to customer financial assistance program


American Water submits rate request to Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. (Credit: Pixabay/Arek Socha.)

Pennsylvania American Water today filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to adjust its water and wastewater rates over a two-year period following an extensive review of the investment needed to ensure continued safe and reliable water and wastewater service.

“Since our last rate case, we will have invested $1.64 billion in infrastructure upgrades, including replacing more than 427 miles of aging water and sewer pipelines and upgrading treatment facilities, storage tanks, wells and pumping stations,” said Mike Doran, president of Pennsylvania American Water. “These infrastructure investments help ensure continued water quality, service reliability and fire protection for the more than 2.4 million people in 400 communities who depend on us every day.”

The request includes revenue increases totaling $138.6 million over two years: $92.4 million in 2021, and $46.2 million in 2022.

“Not only are these investments critical to the public’s health and safety, but they also support the economic health of the communities we serve,” Doran continued. “This level of investment over a four-year period supports more than 25,000 jobs across the state and region.”

Pennsylvania American Water’s rates are based on the actual cost of providing water and wastewater service. To help mitigate the impact to customers, the company works to control costs and operate efficiently and offers bill assistance and payment arrangements to customers who need them. Through its H2O Help to Others Program, the company provides financial assistance to low-income customers who qualify, including emergency grants, bill discounts and water-saving devices and education.

“By making prudent, ongoing investments to maintain and upgrade our water and wastewater systems, Pennsylvania American Water is committed to protecting our communities from public health concerns and quality of life issues associated with failing infrastructure,” said Doran. “At the same time, we remain steadfastly committed to addressing the needs of our most vulnerable customers.”

The PUC’s investigation and analysis of the company’s filing can take up to nine months, and any new rates set by the Commission would not be effective until 2021.

If the company’s proposed rates are approved as requested, the monthly water bill for the average residential customer using 3,458 gallons per month would increase from the current charge of $57.85 to $65.91 in year one and $69.73 in year two. The average monthly residential sewer bill would increase from $60.42 to $71.97 in year one and $76.85 in year two.

Doran emphasized that Pennsylvania American Water has been responding to the hardships the COVID-19 pandemic is causing for residents and businesses. He underscored that the company has been extensively evaluating its future investment needs since long before the pandemic began, and that any new rates will not take effect until early 2021. As part of this request, the company is proposing enhancements to its customer assistance program to further help water and wastewater customers in greatest need.

“We understand and wish to be responsive to the current environment caused by the pandemic, but we also remain focused on meeting the future needs of our customers through sound infrastructure and public health protection,” Doran continued. “I want to emphasize that this request is in no way related to the pandemic and is entirely based on our need to continue ongoing infrastructure improvements. We will work with the Commission to address any issues they raise while they review our request.”

Source: Company Press Release