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Pennsylvania American customers to see rate hike

One of the wastewater holding tanks that received improvements recently at the Pennsylvania American Water plant on Oneida Valley Road. Customers of Pennsylvania American will see hikes in their monthly bills, according to the state Public Utilities Commission. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

Those whose water and sewer services come from Pennsylvania American Water will have to find more money each month to pay their utility bills.

While a monthly sewer bill increase of $19 was initially proposed, the state Public Utility Commission approved a $30 increase.

That means the average Pennsylvania American sewer customer’s monthly bill will rise from $76.65 to $106.65, which equals a 39% increase.

In its PUC application, Pennsylvania American also requested a monthly increase of $15 per customer for water, but received PUC approval for a monthly increase of $8.76. With that increase, the average customer’s monthly bill will rise from $60.48 to $69.23.

The increases will begin on Jan. 28. The PUC approved the increases Thursday.

Pennsylvania American requested a revenue increase of $173.2 million, or 20% of its total annual revenues.

The PUC instead approved a revenue increase of $138 million, or a 16.6% increase for the company.

The approval of the new rates and revenue amount also contained a number of consumer assistance and customer service requirements, including:

* A discount structure for Pennsylvania American’s water bill discount program

* Identification of barriers to enrolling in the discount program

* Increased contributions to Pennsylvania American’s hardship fund

* Community outreach in areas with higher numbers of customers below the poverty level

* Water main extension projects to address health and safety concerns

* Performance objectives for the company’s customer service call center

Pennsylvania American provides water and wastewater service to about 2.3 million customers in 37 counties across the state, including approximately 19,000 water customers in Butler County.

That number will increase by more than 15,000 customers if the sale of the Butler Area Sewer Authority to Pennsylvania American is finalized.

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