Pittsburgh, PA – Today, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) Board of Directors approved a rate request package, also referred to as a tariff, that will be filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) on July 2, 2018. The tariff is required by Act 65 which placed PWSA under PUC oversight. PWSA expects the PUC to investigate the request and make a final determination on the rate package no later than March 2019.
PWSA developed the tariff package by conducting a comprehensive review of its operational and infrastructure needs. If PWSA’s entire rate request is accepted by the PUC, it will generate an additional $27 million annually. If the Authority’s request is approved by the PUC, the total water and wastewater conveyance bill for a residential customer using 3,000 gallons per month would go from $63.62 to $74.23. This rate request replaces PWSA's previously-planned increases for 2019 and 2020.
As a non-profit, publicly-owned authority, one hundred percent of the funding will be directed toward improving PWSA’s drinking water, sewer, and stormwater systems and operations. PWSA will maintain the existing bill discount, hardship cash assistance, and winter shutoff moratorium programs for customers with limited income. More information on those programs can be found at pgh2o.com/CAP.
“This is the first step in a new ratemaking approval process for PWSA. We look forward to engaging with the public and the PUC to explain our need for additional resources to renew the water, sewer, and stormwater systems to become the utility Pittsburgh expects and deserves,” said PWSA Executive Director Robert A. Weimar. “These ratepayer funds will be directed at critical projects to replace lead service lines, improve the quality of our drinking water, rebuild our sewers, and address combined sewer overflows,” he continued.
PWSA Board Chairman Paul Leger said, “The Board takes any increase in rates very seriously. However, recent history has shown that PWSA must be given the resources it needs to protect public health and provide high quality service. Even if the PUC were to accept the entire rate proposal, PWSA’s drinking water rates would still be lower than nearby privately-owned water companies.”
The PUC will likely hold public hearings on the tariff package. As part of this process, PWSA will provide public testimony to justify and explain the requested rates. The Pennsylvania Office of the Consumer Advocate and Small Business Advocate will also review and comment on the request. The PUC may elect to change the rates for each customer class included in PWSA’s tariff package.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, Act 65 in December 2017. The act placed PWSA under PUC oversight with respect to customer service, operational performance, and ratemaking. PWSA is the first municipal authority to be regulated by the PUC, and the Authority welcomes their oversight and emphasis on the public interest. For more information on PUC oversight and actions customers can take in response to the rate request, visit pgh2o.com. Additionally, customers will receive a detailed description of the rate request in their July bills.