Public hearings start this week on West Virginia American Water's proposed 28% rate increase. This rate increase will affect all customers of WV American Water, not just those on the Kanawha Valley system. Here are the dates/times of hearings:
- Sept 30th: Public comment hearings (1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.) at the Lewis County Courthouse, Old Circuit Courtroom, 2"" Floor, 110 , Center Avenue, Weston, WV.
- Oct 1st: Public comment hearings (1:00 p.m. and 6:00 pm.) at 519 John Marshall Drive. Huntington, WV
- Oct 7th: Public comment hearings (1:OO p.m. and 6:00 p.m.) at the Fayette County ~ Courthouse, Circuit Courtroom, 100 Court Street, Fayetteville, WV
- Oct 8th: Public comment hearings (1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.) at the Mercer County Courthouse, Judge Sadler’s Courtroom, 2”d Floor, 1501 W. Main Street, Princeton, WV
- Oct 26th: Public comment hearing at 6:OO p.m. at the Public Service Commission, Howard M. Cunningham Hearing Room, 201 Brooks St., Charleston, WV
If you have concerns with WV American Water's rates and/or service, these hearings are your chance to let the company's regulators know!
Last Friday, the parties involved in WV American Water's rate case submitted testimony to the Public Service Commission. (A rate case is like a legal proceeding, with the different parties offering evidence and testimony about the rate increase and the Commission making the final ruling about what the rate increase should be. The water company has provided its testimony to back up its request for a 28% rate increase; last Friday, other parties had the chance to respond). The Public Service Commission's Staff and the Consumer Advocate Division, a state agency charged with representing residential ratepayers, both recommended rate increases of less than 10%.
The water company has said that its proposed rate increase is driven by costs associated with capital investments it has made since its last rate case (in 2012) and to recover future investments that it plans to make through 2017. Advocates for a Safe Water System's testimony focused on concerns with the company's capital investment strategy, including the fact that the proposed rate increase would not significantly increase the rate at which the company is replacing water mains. Advocates's witness Fred Stottlemyer recommended greater Commission oversight in how the company prioritizes capital investments.