Could water scare cause rate hike

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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