WEST CHESTER (October 18, 2021) – State Senator Carolyn Comitta recently voiced her opposition to Aqua Pennsylvania’s proposed rate increase, which would increase average monthly residential water bills by up to 17 percent and average monthly wastewater bills by nearly 33 percent.
“Affordable, quality water and wastewater services are a basic necessity,” Comitta wrote in a letter to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). “This increase will place an undue burden on residents, families, senior citizens, and those on fixed incomes in communities across my district. Furthermore, it comes at the very time that we continue to face the unprecedented challenges associated with an evolving pandemic, an ongoing economic crisis, and significant storm and flood damage from Hurricane Ida.”
Under the proposals, the average monthly bill for a residential water customer using 4,000 gallons per month would increase by $11.97, from $69.35 to $81.32. The average monthly bill for a residential wastewater customer would increase $18.44 (33.2%) from $55.51 to $73.95.
According to Aqua, the rate increase would be used to cover necessary upgrades and repairs to its distribution and treatment systems.
The PUC may approve or deny the rate increase on Aqua customers, which would go into effect in 2022. Earlier this month, it voted to suspend and investigate the rate increase requests for up to seven months and assign them to the Office of Administrative Law Judge for evidentiary hearings and the issuance of recommended decisions or settlements.
Comitta also noted that while seeking the rate increase, the company continues to purchase and pursue the acquisition of municipal water authorities across the Commonwealth and the southeast region, including the Chester Water Authority.
“I strongly oppose this increase and respectfully ask that the PUC carefully consider its potential impacts on all our communities, especially our most vulnerable families,” she wrote.
Aqua Water provides water service to approximately 434,264 customers in portions of more than 200 municipalities throughout 32 Pennsylvania counties. Aqua Wastewater provides wastewater service to approximately 40,284 customers in portions of more than 40 municipalities throughout 15 Pennsylvania counties. Collectively, the two companies serve nearly 1.5 million people throughout the Commonwealth, including many in Chester County and southeastern Pennsylvania.
Aqua Pennsylvania’s last rate increase was filed in 2018 and became effective in 2019. It resulted in average water customers experiencing a nearly 10 percent increase and wastewater average customers shouldering a nearly 35 percent hike.
Residents are encouraged to submit public comments on this proposed increase.
Comments can be sent to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105. For more information on this process, call the PUC at 1-800-692-7380 or visit the PUC website: www.PUC.PA.gov.
More information on the ratemaking process is available on the Commission’s website.
Senator Comitta’s full letter to the PUC can be found here