PUC Approves Settlement for Substantially Smaller Rate Increase for Water and Wastewater Service by Community Utilities
Published on 1/13/2022
Filed under: Water and Wastewater
Settlement Includes New Pilot Program to Assist Income Qualified Consumers and Improvements to Address Consumer Service Complaints
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a joint settlement for substantially smaller water and wastewater rate increases for customers served by Community Utilities of Pennsylvania Inc (CUPA-Water and CUPA-Wastewater) – along with a new pilot program that will reduce the water rates for income qualified residential customers.
The Commission voted 3-0 to approve the joint settlement, which was supported by the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, the Office of Small Business and the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement.
CUPA-Water serves approximately 3,400 customers in the portions of Monroe, Northampton and Pike counties and CUPA-Wastewater serves nearly 4,000 customers in those same territories, along with a portion of Chester County.
The joint settlement approved today includes a $630,000 annual increase to CUPA-Water’s operating revenues, compared to the original proposal for a $757,517 water rate increase – along with a $830,000 annual increase to CUPA-Wastewater’s operating revenues, compared to the original proposal for a $998,705 wastewater rate increase.
Under the terms of the settlement, the average monthly residential water bill in CUPA-Water’s consolidated territories will increase from $54.16 to 70.98 (31.1%), while the residential wastewater bill in CUPA-Wastewater’s consolidated territories will increase from $55.39 to $74.73 (34.9%).
Customer Support and Service Enhancements
The settlement includes establishment of a new pilot program that will provide a discount to income qualified residential customers. According to the settlement, the average water bill for a customer in the new pilot program will decrease from the current $54.16 to $52.18 – which is a 3.7% reduction compared to current rates, and an approximately 26% decrease compared to the new residential rates included in the settlement.
Additionally, the utility will also participate in the new federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) and provide outreach to all customers regarding that program.
And the settlement includes commitments to address service-related complaints, including the identification of lost and unaccounted for water; the testing, repair and replacement of valves; notice to customers of system maintenance that may discolor water; and the study of operating pressures in the utility’s water mains.
Community Utilities of PA – Water Division provides water service in Stroud and Pocono Townships, Monroe County, a portion of Hanover Township, Northampton County, and portions of Lehman Township, Pike County.
Community Utilities of PA – Wastewater Division provides wastewater service in Stroud and Pocono Townships, Monroe County, a portion of West Bradford Township, Chester County, and portions of Lehman Township, Pike County.
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Docket No.: R-2021-3025206
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