Friday, November 19, 2021

PUC OKs Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority Rate Settlement, Including $21 Million Annual Stormwater Charge

On November 18, the
Public Utility Commission approved a joint settlement that includes substantially smaller rate changes than had been originally proposed by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority for water, wastewater and stormwater services to approximately 100,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities.

Also approved was a $21 million annual stormwater charge to be phased in over two years. 

The Commission voted 3-0 to approve the recommended decision issued by PUC Administrative Law Judge Eranda Vero and adopt the joint settlement, which was supported by PWSA, the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, the Pennsylvania Office of Small Business Advocate, Pittsburgh United and the City of Pittsburgh.

The settlement approved allows for an increase in PWSA base rate revenues for water and wastewater service, along with a new stormwater charge, totaling $20.998 million, to be phased-in over a two-year period – compared to the $32.2 million increase for that same period which was originally sought by PWSA. 

The settlement also addresses numerous other customer service and system operation issues which were raised during the rate case.

Under the terms of the settlement, the rate increases will be implemented over a two-year period, resulting in a $16.996 million increase in PWSA annual revenues, effective Jan. 12, 2022, along with an additional $4.002 million in annual revenues starting on Jan. 1, 2023. 

A typical PWSA residential water, wastewater conveyance and stormwater customer using 3,000 gallons of water per month will see the total bill increase from $79.34 to $86.43, or by $7.09 (8.9 percent), after the second step of the increase in 2023 – compared to a $11.71 (14.8 percent) increase which was originally sought by PWSA.

Additionally, the settlement includes additional commitments to provide relief to customers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; improvements to low-income assistance programs, customer service and consumer education; and increases in system-wide testing and maintenance efforts – all benefiting the customers served by PWSA and the public interest.

PUC Docket Numbers: R-2021-3024773;  R-2021-3024774;  R-2021-3024779.

[Posted: November 19, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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