State Halts Water Rate Hike, For Now

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LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- If you were expecting an increase in your water bill next month you can relax. The Public Utility Commission has halted Pennsylvania American Water's request for a 17 percent hike and will review it.

Pennsylvania American Water was hoping to net more than $100 million a year with that rate increase. It would use the money to make improvements to water mains.

It's now going to be at least several months until the state makes a decision and we know what the rate increase will be.

Water is something Tom Dragwa is constantly thinking about since his family runs a greenhouse at its business -- McGee's Ice Cream in Carbondale.

He's thinking about how much he uses and how much it all costs.

"We use a lot of water here, leaving it running for a while, you know? The company gets their money's worth!" said Dragwa.

So he was concerned when he learned that his water bill would go up 17 percent next month, about $10 for the average homeowner, closer to $50 from businesses like McGee's.

"Well, we'll just take it out of our savings you know? Because all that dwindles down. I don't know what else," he said.

We have some time to figure it out. The Public Utility Commission has stalled the rate hike for a review, something Pennsylvania American Water spokesperson Susan Turcmanovich says was expected.

"The PUC decision is typical for a rate filing, it was anticipated. They'll review everything we've submitted and we look forward to that additional review," Turcmanovich said.

PAW planned to use the extra money for water main improvements and water quality improvements. The PUC could change the amount the water company can collect.

The staff at the Carbondale Grand Hotel expect they will eventually have to pay extra. The hotel and its restaurants use a lot of water. But, they'll save a little money heading into the busy summer season.

"They'll get most of what they want, if not all of what they want. It's just a process that they have to go through. It'll affect my bottom line, as does everything that I do here. So, it's just going to be less on the profit side and more on the expense side. I'll have to make adjustments depending on how drastic it is," said Robert Sakosky, Carbondale Grand Hotel.

Officials at Pennsylvania American Water say the state's review could take several months but there's no way to know for sure when your bill would go up or at what rate.


  • Sam I Am

    They always ask for more than what they really want, they will be happy with 10%, because that’s what they will be approved for.

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