Water company calls requests to delay its rate increase due to flooding "opportunistic"

The water company just told the Public Service Commission that the request from Kanawha County and the City of Charleston to delay the water company's latest rate hike request because people and businesses are recovering from this summer's disastrous flooding is"opportunistic, if not insincere." 

The water company is requesting another rate increase on top of the 15.1% rate increase it received earlier this year. This time it is seeking a 9.75% profit on infrastructure investments that have virtually no risk to the company. The water company has requested a decision from the Public Service Commission by November.

Meanwhile, the water company saw no problem last month in requesting its own delay in the Public Service Commission's investigation of the company's response to the water crisis.

PSC doesn't want new evidence in investigation

A few weeks ago, the Public Service Commission rejected our request to re-open discovery in its general investigation into WV American Water's response to the water crisis. We had noted that new information has come to light since we filed our testimony in this case (way back in November 2014) and requested the opportunity to get that information into the PSC case through discovery questions.

The PSC is the public agency in the best position to really investigate WVAW's role in the water crisis. Unfortunately it appears to be more interested in adhering to its own self-defined process, even if that means excluding information from the investigation that has an obvious bearing on how and why the contamination happened.

This is yet another argument for a public water system. If we're not going to have regulators that are willing to more aggressively pursue the public interest, then we should at least have a water utility that is not constantly incentivized to do things that are against the public interest.