Davis testifies in opposition to Pennsylvania-American’s rate increase request at PUC’s public input hearing

HARRISBURG, Aug. 26 – On Tuesday, state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, testified before the Public Utility Commission in opposition to Pennsylvania-American Water’s recent rate increase request.

In May, Davis sent a letter to PUC, urging the commission to investigate Pennsylvania-American Water’s rate increase proposal and to hold a public hearing on the matter.

The utility company, Davis said, 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. But he said he found it alarming when the company continued to push for an increase during a global pandemic and following an already approved rate increase from PUC in 2018.

At Tuesday’s public input hearing regarding the request, Davis’ verbal opposition to the increase fell on similar grounds.

“I understand the need to source for investments so Pennsylvania-American Water can continue to provide quality, safe and reliable water and wastewater services to residents,” Davis said. “What I can’t understand, though, is the reasoning behind the continued push for an increase during the current public health crisis.

“The financial hardships alone in recent months have had a crippling impact on our economy and residents alike. Our neighbors are fighting to keep their heads above water, not be submerged in it,” Davis continued. “I’ve seen a lot of compassion for others throughout the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, but I honestly have to question the reasoning behind this request at this exact moment, which is why I’m grateful the Public Utility Commission saw the need to hold a hearing on this matter.”