Gergely advocates against water and sewage rate increases at PUC hearing in Port Vue

PORT VUE, Jan. 31 – State Rep. Matthew R. Gergely, D-Allegheny, testified about proposed rate increases by water and sewage companies and their impact on the community during a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission public hearing held at the Port Vue Borough Building.

Gergely highlighted the importance of affordable access to clean water as a basic necessity and not just a commodity, as the proposed rate hikes have been criticized for disproportionately affecting senior citizens and low-income families. He also underscored the need for the PUC to rigorously scrutinize these increases and hold corporations accountable.

“As state representative of PA’s 35th Legislative District, my commitment to tackling the challenges of water and sewage rates has been unwavering since Day One in office,” Gergely said. “I am deeply engaged in these matters not just as a duty but with a passion to safeguard our residents’ rights.”

Data presented indicated that the proposed rate increases are steep and unprecedented, especially during a time when residents are already facing economic challenges, including inflation. Gergely called for the PUC's intervention to safeguard the public interest and explore mitigation strategies, such as renewable and efficient water and sewage management systems.

“Citizen access to affordable water and sewage is absolutely non-negotiable,” he added.

Emphasizing the importance of community feedback, Gergely proposed expanding assistance programs and introducing a tiered rate system to ensure affordability. A call for establishing a committee to study and propose long-term water pricing solutions was also made.

Gergely concluded his testimony by urging the PUC to conduct a thorough review of the proposed increases, involve community stakeholders, and prioritize affordable water access for all residents of the Commonwealth. He also emphasized the demand for continued and publicized hearings in affected areas to ensure efficient and responsive action from the PUC.