CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Many customers of West Virginia American Water have a lot of questions since the chemical spill which contaminated the water source of 300,000 people. Among those is whether the water emergency will cause their monthly water bill to increase.

“I’ve heard everything possible and seen everything possible in the discussions in the paper,” said Public Service Commission Chairman Mike Albert. “If we are called to do anything, I want people under oath and sitting in front of me.”

Albert was asked about the possibility of a rate hike proposal during a meeting with a legislative committee last week.  Any rate hike imposed would need the approval of the Commission, but Albert said it’s unclear if that request will be posted. He added if it is, it won’t be anytime soon.

“With the lawsuits being filed, I think it’s a factor of life when these things get started it makes it more difficult to get information from people,” he said. “They will not be filing no sooner than the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016 before there’s any rate impact.”

Albert said if the company filed for the rate increase the commission would go through the same process they always use.  He told lawmakers given the circumstances and the information now available he didn’t know if there would be a case for raising rates.

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  • wvtd

    greedy! I guess they will need the extra money to settle all of the lawsuits.

  • Rich

    What he's not telling is public utilities are entitled to an automatic increase, somewhat like a cost of living adjustment, just by filing.

  • Ed Wouldn't

    I stated this would happen the day of the incident.

    No way are the "investors" or the company going to take a hit from this, it's going to be on the backs of customers. There was no usage for how many days and now there is going to be reduced usage for a good while longer, if not permanently, simply due to the confidence hit the water supply has taken. How many times in the past has WVAmW asked for a rate increase due to "reduced usage"? You think it's not going to happen this time?

    Add in any "improvements" they come up with felt necessary or infrastructure repairs and the die is cast since the company nor it's shareholders ever shoulder the burden.


  • Wowbaggers

    Actually it will be more like:

    West Virginia American Water needs an alternate intake or an emergency reservior. This will require a significant rate increase and imminent domain support from state or city government to provide this redundancy.

  • Paul

    A rate hike? Who woulda thunk it?

    As for the PSC approving any rate hike, when was the last time they denied a rate hike for any utility?

    Anyone? Anyone?

  • Dennis

    Nearly twenty-five years ago WVAWC began pushing for it's customers not to waste water. The customers began to use less water, WVAWC ask for and was granted a rate increase due to revenues declining from less water being consumed. Now, once again all WVAWC will assume the position.

  • Frank / Moundsville

    Now the customers of WV American Water get to pay for the company's ineptitude. What at great country!!!

    • Paul

      Frank, the same applies to APCO. They won't clear the trees from the lines. When a big storm comes and knocks the power lines down from those trees, they seek (and get) a rate increase to cover it.

      Notice how those rates never come back down.

  • Woodchuck

    Crystal ball clearly says rate increase. Here is why...

    We were supposed to be doing some things, like testing water quality and such, but we now need more money to be doing those things.

    Joke is on us.