SHENANGO VALLEY Water company seeks rate rise

An ongoing capital improvement program was cited as the reason for the request.
SHARON, Pa. -- The average residential bill for customers of Consumers Pennsylvania Water Co. Shenango Valley Division would rise by about $2.60 a month under terms of a 9.9 percent rate increase being sought by the company.
The company filed a request for the increase Friday with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, asking that the change be effective Jan. 8.
However, the PUC typically suspends such requests for up to nine months to do an investigation and analysis of the proposal, the company said.
The water company got a 29 percent increase April 28, 2000, and that followed a 23.5 percent increase granted in December 1997.
Nearly all of the increases went to pay for a new $34 million water treatment plant completed on the Shenango River along North Water Avenue in mid-2000.
Explanation: Ken Baumann, Shenango Valley Division manager, said the company's continued capital investment program to improve water quality, fire protection and service reliability is the primary reason for the latest increase request.
He said the company has invested $5.35 million in system improvements since its last rate increase request.
If the entire increase is granted, typical customers will still get a day's worth of water (approximately 120 gallons) delivered directly to their tap for less than $1 a day, about the cost of a two-liter bottle of soft drink, Baumann said.
Consumers bills switched from quarterly to bimonthly billing recently and the average residential bill of $52.54 for that two-month period would rise to $57.72 under the increase request.
The average commercial bill would rise from $140 to $158, while the average industrial bill would rise from $2,044 to $2,331 for that same period of time.
The Shenango Valley Division serves 57,000 residents in 15 municipalities in Mercer and Lawrence counties.

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