Davis calls on PUC to investigate PA American’s recent rate-increase request

Davis said increase will significantly impact residents suffering from a loss of income

HARRISBURG, May 1 -- In response to a recent rate-increase request filed by Pennsylvania American Water to the Public Utility Commission, state Rep. Austin Davis wrote a letter of concern asking the commission to hold public hearings and conduct an investigation into the necessity of the requested rate increase.

A copy of Davis’ letter can be found here.

“COVID-19 has left millions of Pennsylvanians without jobs, and the economic effects this virus will have on families across the commonwealth is overwhelming,” said Davis, D-Allegheny. “Experts predict the economic loss families in my district and across the state will incur will last well into 2021. I think at the very least families shouldn’t have to fear the loss of services for their most basic needs due to an inability to pay.”

Davis noted in his letter he was aware Pennsylvania American Water began the process of examining needed investments to continue to ensure safe and reliable water and wastewater services before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he said he’s troubled the company would continue its push for a significant increase during a health crisis. The requested increase wouldn’t go into effect until 2021.

In 2018, the PUC unanimously approved a settlement that allowed Pennsylvania American Water to raise water and wastewater rates. Davis said the primary factor for the increase was to allot for $1.26 billion in investments to replace and upgrade aging infrastructure, leading him to question the latest request.

“I understand the need to update aging infrastructure so that we can ensure residents have safe water and wastewater. However, I’m still confused as to why an additional increase is needed at this time, especially during a pandemic,” Davis said. “We’ve seen lots of good come out of humanity during this health crisis, but we’re also seeing questionable moves that seem more influenced by profits than the health and safety of state residents.”