Alexandria officials say no to ‘too aggressive’ water rate increases proposed by Virginia American Water

The City of Alexandria is fighting back against water rate increases that would cost Virginia customers an average of $75 more in the first year of the proposed increase.

Virginia American Water, the privately-owned, for-profit provider of drinking water in the city, has requested an annual water rate increase of 14.48% and a wastewater service rate decrease of 3.73% in order to produce more sales revenue.

The bill for an average residential customer using 4,500 gallons of water per month would go up about $75 in the first year and about $39 in each of the second and third years, according to a release from Alexandria.

Alexandria, at the direction of the city council, objects the increase on behalf of customers, and states that “the profit margin should be lowered, the rate of bill increases should be gradual and representative of national average, costs of serving customers should be appropriately and fairly allocated between residential, commercial and industrial customer.”

“While Virginia American Water is an important partner in Alexandria’s water system, the City has a responsibility to the community to speak up when rate increases are too aggressive,” said City Manager Mark Jinks.

“Increases are needed from time to time in order to maintain and improve aging infrastructure, but they must be structured and paced fairly and equitably.”

The order allowed the proposed rates to go into effect as of May 2019, pending future approval by the Commission.

The City of Alexandria is encouraging residents to submit their comments opposing the increase online through the State Corporation Commission’s website under “Submit Comments” in case PUR-2018-00175. Comments can be submitted until Aug. 13.

The State Corporation Commission will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Aug. 27 to hear the from public, the company and other stakeholders. Those wanting to speak during the hearing should arrive at least 15 minutes in advance to register with the bailiff.

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