CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia American Water has recently filed an application with the state Public Service Commission (PSC), seeking approval of its 2023 infrastructure replacement program and associated Distribution System Improvement Charge.
The infrastructure replacement plan and the surcharge is reviewed and updated annually by the PSC in June, and the proposed 2023 rate includes approximately $81.2 million of investment for infrastructure replacement and system upgrades.
According to Megan Hannah, the Sr. Manager, Government and External Affairs at West Virginia American Water (WVAW), the proposed monthly infrastructure surcharge rate hike would be $2.88 for average residential use, in addition from $1.14 in last year’s rate. If approved in full, that surcharge would become $4.02.
According to the company’s filing, it also includes hikes of $12.59 for average commercial use and $337.47 for average industrial use.
The annual infrastructure replacement program has been in place since 2017. Hannah told MetroNews the surcharge goes in different directions every year.
“Last year it went down. What we are proposing for next year is up a little bit. It could go up or down for the following year. It changes based on the types of infrastructure replacement projects,” she said.
WVAW’s 2023 infrastructure replacement plan includes $25 million to replace or upgrade approximately 16 miles of water mains; $6.4 million to replace service lines and fire hydrants; $9.3 million to replace water meters; $3.0 million for booster station upgrades, $3.0 million for three additional storage tanks, and $2.0 million for potential post-acquisition investment on troubled water systems. The resulting proposal is an increase of approximately $2.88 per month to the 2023 Distribution System Improvement Charge for the average residential customer using 2,943 gallons.
The company asked the PSC to rule within 150 days of its application, with rates to go into effect on Jan. 1.
WVAW has maintained an Infrastructure Upgrade Map to show projects being worked on in the system.