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State utility commission votes to review PWSA rate increase

July 13, 2018

The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority drinking water facility is on Freeport Road in Aspinwall.

The state’s Public Utility Commission voted Thursday to investigate rate increases proposed by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The vote is part of the normal process for the state commission but a first for the city authority, which went under PUC oversight this year.

PWSA wants to increase residential rates by 16.7 percent next year, adding $10.61 a month to the average bill. The authority’s board approved the rate increase in June and sent the proposal to the PUC. The PUC is expected to make its decision by March 2019.

The 16.7 percent increase would replace two planned rate hikes, a 10 percent increase in 2019 and an 11 percent one in 2020.

As part of the process, PWSA customers and others with concerns about water rates will have the chance to provide input to the state regulators before any increase is approved.

“This is a new process for PWSA and also a new opportunity for residents and concerned parties to have input into rates,” PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Federiksen said.

An administrative law judge will set public hearings on the proposal which will be scheduled by late summer or early fall, Hagen-Frederikson said.

The PUC will decide on the rate increae after gathering input from people at those meetings.

“We look forward to working through this process with the PUC and the public,” PWSA spokesman Will Pickering said.

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