CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia American Water Company reached a rate-increase compromise with the state Public Service Commission’s consumer advocate agency Tuesday.

Though the plan must be formally approved by the PSC, Byron Harris of the Consumer Advocate Division projected “customers will be seeing approximately a 7-percent increase in their bills beginning October of this year.”

The water company initially sought to raise rates by 19.7 percent.

The average bill for WVAW’s average customer is currently $50 a month. The proposed rate hike would increase that by about $4.

Whereas the water company’s original request aimed to raise an additional $24 million annually, Harris said “we have managed to reach a settlement which limits their increase to $8.1 million.”

The Utility Workers of America and Steel of West Virginia were hoping for no increase at all. Two witnesses testified before the PSC on Monday that the company was not providing quality service and didn’t need or deserve a rate hike.

Harris said by coming to an agreement, the company gets a little, and the consumers don’t end up paying a whole lot.

“Any time you reach a settlement, it’s always a compromise. Our case showed that the company should have received, depending on what profit level you wanted to give them, between $3 million to $4.5 million,” explained Harris. “So we’ve come up from that to $8-million. Obviously the company has come down quite a bit from $24 million.”

Harris stressed the PSC has the final say.

“They can modify the settlement. They could reject the settlement. It’s ultimately their decision,” he said.

Part of the agreement is that WVAW will not ask for another rate increase until at least January of 2015.

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  • ruby poindexter

    My mom is 95 and living on a fixed income. Her raise in jan. for her ssi was 12.00 a month, and yet her electric is doubled from last year and her water is now going up. She pays $25 a month service charge then $0.96112000 x a number that I can't figure out where it comes from. Why are we paying a service charge in the first place? We are paying the company for the upkeep of their business? For the right to have water piped into our house so we can pay so much for each gallon? Will food stores be charging a x amount everytime we go gro. shopping for the up keep of their stores? Doesn't make much sense to me but as mom says you have to have water and electric so just pay the bill and eat alot of pinto beans....

  • Joe

    Anyone who says (in this case the PSC) that both sides won in the negotiation, have never won a negotiation.

  • RHytonen

    Claiming that "Compromise is ALWAYS appropriate" ASSumes that the initial request is in some way reasonable, responssiblem r at the very least based, in part, on some consideration other than pure profit for greed's sake (either on the part of something-for-nothing "investor"/gamblers, or the business owner/s.)

    Today this is almost ALWAYS an unreasonable assumption.
    We need to STOP giving in to greed, at all -
    Where will it end?