PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The last thing people want to hear right now is: Your water bill is going up. But that is exactly what is happening to thousands of Pennsylvania American Water customers in our area.
The company reached a settlement on Thursday and said it would invest more than $1 billion in water and sanitation systems through 2023 to continue providing safe and reliable service.
More than 100,000 US customers from Pennsylvania in Montgomery, Chester and Bucks counties can expect to see an increase of about $9 more per month and the region’s roughly 12,000 wastewater customers can expect to an increase of about $30 per month starting January 23.
In a statement from Pennsylvania American, they said: “On December 8, 2022, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved a joint settlement agreement which was filed in October 2022 by all parties active in the 2022 rate filing of The company filed its rate application in April 2022, seeking to adjust its rates by approximately $173.2 million for more than $1 billion in investments in water and wastewater systems. the company will do through 2023 to continue to provide safe and reliable service, a total increase in annualized revenue of $138 million and increased funding for customer support. The agreement also includes certain plans for water main extensions and an accelerated lead service line replacement program to more than double the annual replacement rate.
They added “From 2022 to 2023, Pennsylvania American Water will have invested approximately $1.13 billion to improve service reliability, water quality and fire protection for more than 400 communities across the Commonwealth. These investments help ensure the continued safety and reliability of our water and wastewater systems, promote public health and support the economy.”
Dr Subodha Kumar, from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, said “in the short term it will look bad for consumers, but in the long term it is in everyone’s interest “Pennsylvania is one of the states where water supply pipelines are much older. Wherever we have these old pipelines, it needs to be done. It’s something that’s long overdue.”
But that doesn’t mean customers aren’t feeling the pain, especially in these economic times. Philadelphia residents aren’t affected by this rate hike, but in the Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington metro area, about 22% of people said they couldn’t afford to pay an energy bill at least once. last year, with 5% saying they could. t almost every month. And about 28% say they have had to reduce or give up their basic needs in the past year, while 7% have to do so almost every month.
Many people in the area are struggling with their utilities. The Energy Coordinating Agency, ECA, says demand is high for people who need financial assistance at this time.
“We have certainly seen an increase in people contacting us to see if they can get help,” said Steve Luxton, executive director of the Energy Coordination Agency (ECA).
“A lot of times people assume they don’t qualify for programs, and that’s not necessarily true,” said BJ McDuffie, program manager for the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA).
But they say there’s a growing number of people who aren’t eligible, and that’s the biggest problem.
“They’re vastly underemployed and working in low-paying retail jobs, but they’re working and trying to pay their bills and the fight for them is probably more terrible than someone who’s less than 200 per cent off the line. of federal poverty because he is probably receiving aid.” -Steve Luxton, Executive Director, Energy Coordination Agency (ECA)
If you need help, you can contact the ECA or your county help desk. For US customers from Pennsylvania, they say they have low-income discount programs available.
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