Davis bill approved by House Consumer Affairs Committee

Bill would provide consumer protections for residents’ right to clean, drinkable water

HARRISBURG, May 26 – State Rep. Austin Davis’ legislation, which would provide a level of consumer protections to residents’ rights to clean, drinkable water, was unanimously voted out of the House Consumer Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

The measure, H.B. 1718, would amend the state’s definition of the “Landlord Ratepayer” and ensure Pennsylvanians living in multi-unit dwellings aren’t at risk for water shutoffs due to a property owner’s unpaid bills to a homeowners association that pays the water and sewage bills for the community’s residents.

Davis said this scenario has occurred in his district, with nearly 200 homeowners in Clairton who faced unexpected water shut-off notices due to a property owner’s failure to pay bills.

It’s a situation he doesn’t want to see happen again.

“As representatives of commonwealth residents, we have to ensure we’re doing as much as possible to ensure consumer protections in all aspects of life, including residents’ right to clean, drinkable water,” Davis said.

“What occurred in Clairton is unacceptable. Single meter, multi-unit dwellings unfortunately deal with this scenario more than you’d think, and most times it’s the property owner’s fault – but it’s the occupants who suffer the most. This bill would ensure this no longer is a reoccurring situation,” Davis said.

The bill would amend the definition of the “Landlord Ratepayer” to include condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities. Davis said this would bring needed consumer regulatory protection for unit owners and provide a process that includes oversight by the Public Utility Commission.

Davis hopes H.B. 1718 will be considered soon by the full House.