CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Thousands of West Virginia American Water Company customers will get a break on their water bill after flushing gallons of water through their home plumbing. WVAWC has agreed to give a 1,000 gallon credit to each customer affected by the water emergency.
However, in most cases, West Virginia American only provides water and a customer’s sewer treatment is handled by another company. Since sewer rates are based on water usage those customers will be hit on the sewer bill.
“We are not able to arbitrarily give free service to anybody because of the bond covenants” said Charleston Mayor Danny Jones.
The mayor is a member of the Charleston Sanitary Board, which is a separate entity from the city.
“Where the water company makes seven to ten percent, the sanitary board actually loses money so we don’t have the ability to give a discount.” said Mayor Jones at a Tuesday morning news conference. “I wish we could, but it’s not within my power. I’d wave the whole fee if I could, but I just can’t.”
The order affected about 100,000 West Virginia American customers and a large number have other sewer service providers. Putnam Public Service District has 1,300 customers who were affected by the outage. They plan to match West Virginia American’s credit so those homes will not be charged anything for the chemical spill.
“I guess we would have a different set of bonds,” said Putnam Public Service District Communications Director Scott Jones. “Plus this only affects a portion of our customers.”
Other public service districts who have customers impacted by the water emergency haven’t indicated if they will extend a discount to customers forced to flush their lines.