CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The largest water company in the state is seeking a rate increase.

West Virginia American Water Company filed a request Monday with the state Public Service Commission for a 24 percent increase on the base rate.

That would be an increase of about $11 per month to the average customer’s bill.

The company said the current Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) investment will be rolled into base rates and the surcharge will be reduced accordingly. This means customers will see less of an increase on their bills, with the actual impact being 21 percent or $10.22 per month.

According to a news release, the company said the increase request is due to infrastructure improvements. The company also cites the decline in the number of customers and the amount of water customers use.

WVAWC President Brian Bruce said in the release the company’s water system is one of the most complex, expansive and challenging to maintain systems in the country due to the state’s mountainous terrain and the rural nature.

“The vast majority of the costs we incur to provide water service to our customers are fixed costs and do not vary with the volume of water we sell,” Bruce said. “Unfortunately, these usage and population declines do not lessen the company’s need to renew and replace aging infrastructure and satisfy increasingly stringent drinking water regulations. This case demonstrates that we have been good stewards of our customers’ monthly water payments and have kept our operating expenses relatively flat for the past 10 years by working more efficiently, improving processes, utilizing technology, and leveraging economies of scale.”

It will be months before the PSC makes a decision on the request.

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