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Dinniman: Public Hearing on Pa-American Water Rate Increase Set for August 3
WEST CHESTER (June 17, 2017) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that a public input hearing on Pennsylvania-American Water Company’s (PAWC) proposed rate increase for Coatesville-area customers is set for Thursday, August 3 at 1 p.m. in East Fallowfield Township.
The hearing, scheduled by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) at the request of Senator Dinniman, will be held at the East Fallowfield Township Building located at 2264 Strasburg Road in East Fallowfield.
Residents impacted by the proposed rate increase are encouraged to attend and voice their concerns about the proposed increases to both water and wastewater service.
“My office has heard from numerous residents and families in the Coatesville area who are deeply concerned about the impact of these rising utility rates on their lives and their households,” Dinniman said. “Consumers have a right to voice their opinions on the rate increase. If you are impacted, I urge you to come out on August 3 and make your voice heard. Your views are important and will become part of the record on which the PUC bases its decision.”
PAWC filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to increase water rates by 17.06 percent and wastewater rates by 23.09 percent increase for customers in the Coatesville area.
PAWC provides water service to more than 12,000 customers in Coatesville, Parkesburg, South Coatesville, and portions of Sadsbury, Caln, East Fallowfield, Valley, Atglen, West Sadsbury, and West Caln. It provides wastewater service to more than 6,000 customers in some of the same municipalities.
Under the proposed rate increase, the typical residential customer’s water bill (using 3,630 gallons a month) would rise from $55.63 per month to $65.12– an increase of more than $113 a year aside from any applicable surcharges. The typical residential customer’s wastewater bill (using 3,630 gallons a month) would rise from $56.96 per month to $70.11– an increase of more than $157 a year aside from any applicable surcharges.
PAWC requested that the new rates become effective June 27, 2017. However, the PUC has suspended the request for six to nine months to complete an investigation and analysis based on questions raised by Dinniman, the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate and others. That could delay the rate change until 2018.
Dinniman has already expressed his opposition and serious concerns regarding the water rate increase to the PUC, the state agency responsible for approving rates for regulated public utilities. He also said he would continue to work for increased transparency in the rate making process and to ensure that PAWC is responsive to customer’s concerns.
In addition to the East Fallowfield hearing, the PUC has scheduled eight other public input meetings for customers impacted by the proposed rate increases throughout the Commonwealth. PAWC currently provides water and/or wastewater service to 2.3 million Pennsylvanians.
Customers who wish to express opposition to the rate increase must attend the hearing in person. At the hearing, they can participate by either:
- Presenting sworn testimony that becomes part of the record in the proceeding.
- Making an unsworn statement.
The PUC will also hold a “smart” hearing on Thursday, July 27 at 1 p.m. that will be live-streamed on its website, http://www.puc.state.pa.us/about_puc/live_streaming_video.aspx, and offers an opportunity for customers to offer comments via telephone.
The “smart” hearing will be conducted by the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge and will take place at its headquarters in Hearing Room 1 of the Commonwealth Keystone Building, located at 400 North Street in Harrisburg.
Witnesses are able to offer their comments by telephone, from the convenience of their homes or other locations, to be considered as part of the Commission’s review. In-person testimony at the Harrisburg hearing site also will be included, for those who prefer to comment in that manner. Individuals will have the option of not having their testimony live-streamed, if they prefer.
Individuals wishing to testify at the hearings by telephone must contact the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge (OALJ) at 717-787-1399 and provide contact information no later than Friday, July 21, 2017.
Residents do not need to have access to the live-streaming event to testify by telephone.
Attendance at any of the in-person hearing requires no prior action, simply show up and sign in. However, those interested in offering comments should arrive early.
The PUC and the Office of Consumer Advocate also offered the following tips for those interested in participating:
- Prepare what you are going to say beforehand. Even though it is not required, you may want to write out your statement, which can be read.
- Bring copies if you are attending an in-person hearing. If you have a written statement you would like to give to the judge, please bring two copies for the court reporter and several copies for the other participants.
- Understand that parties in the case may want to ask you a question to clarify something you said.
- When testifying by telephone, speak slowly and clearly so that the judge, court reporter, and those people watching the hearing can understand your testimony.
- Participants can also review the rate increase request and other docket information on the PUC’s website here, as well as information on the rate-making process.
- If using a cell phone, be sure you are in a safe location with a good signal so your call can be heard clearly.