South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

PUC schedules hearings on PWSA Rate increase request

 

August 28, 2018



The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has scheduled four early-September hearings to gather public input on the rate increase requests filed by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA).

The hearings will be held:

Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Allegheny Center Alliance Church, 250 East Ohio St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212;

Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Kingsley Community Center, 6435 Frankstown Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 17206; and,

Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center, 1852 Enoch St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

These public input hearings will be conducted by Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge Mark A. Hoyer.

Attendance at a public input hearing requires no prior action. Interested individuals can simply show up, sign in and offer their comments.

For individuals with special needs, the Office of Administrative Law Judge (OALJ) may be able to make reasonable accommodations. Call the OALJ scheduling office at 717-787-1399 at least five business days prior to the hearing to submit your request.

For those who require an interpreter to participate in the hearings, they will make every reasonable effort to have an interpreter present. Call the scheduling office at least ten business days prior to the hearing to submit a request.

Relay Service for those who are hearing-impaired is available by calling 1-800-654-5988.

More information on the PUC ratemaking process is available on the commission’s website.

The PWSA requests, filed on July 2, propose a $27 million per year (17.1 percent) increase in operating revenues for water and wastewater services.

Under the PWSA requests, the total water and wastewater bill for a residential customer using 3,000 gallons per month would increase from $63.62 to $74.23 per month (16.7 percent). Additionally, the total monthly bill for a commercial customer using 13,000 gallons per month would increase from $234 to $283.12 (21 percent); rates for an industrial customer using 680,000 gallons per month would increase from $9,409.52 to $12,064.79 (28.2 percent); and the monthly bill for a health or education institutional customer using 50,000 gallons per month would increase from $1,031.30 to $1,131.73 (9.7 percent).

PWSA provides service to more than 300,000 residents and businesses in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities. A final decision by the Commission regarding the PWSA requests is due by March 31, 2019.

Act 65 of 2017 established PUC oversight over water, wastewater and storm water services by entities created by Pennsylvania cities of the second class – specifically, the PWSA.

Under a Final Implementation Order, approved by the Commission on March 15, 2018, PWSA was directed to file new proposed tariffs for water and wastewater service no later than July 2, 2018, and those tariffs would be subject to the PUC’s normal ratemaking process to determine just and reasonable rates, including a Commission investigation, public input and the ability for parties to voice their concerns.

The Final Implementation Order also requires PWSA to file a compliance plan by Sept. 28, 2018, to ensure compliance for regulatory issues not addressed in the tariff filing. That plan will address the future implementation of a stormwater tariff; a plan to address lead levels in the water supply and the replacement of lead service lines; a metering plan identifying unmetered accounts and plans to meter all customers; plans to convert to the Uniform System of Accounts; a Self-Certification Form for Security Planning and Readiness; plans to fully comply with the billing, collection, complaint, and termination rules of Chapter 14 of the Public Utility Code and Chapter 56 of the Commission’s regulations; and access to the PWSA customer service management information system by the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the public input hearings and provide comments. Their testimony will become part of the record on which the PUC will issue its final decision.

The PUC and the Office of Consumer Advocate offer tips on how to participate, including:

Prepare what you are going to say beforehand. Even though it is not required, you may want to write out your statement, which can be read.

Bring copies if you are attending an in-person public input hearing. If you have a written statement you would like to give to the presiding Administrative Law Judge, please bring two copies for the court reporter and several copies for the other participants.

Understand that parties in the case may want to ask you a question to clarify something you said.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

Visit the PUC’s website at http://www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings.

 

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