Should Philadelphians expect a 20% increase in their water bill over the next two years? The answer is yes.
The Philadelphia Water Department, or PWD, announced in late January that it had filed a preliminary notice to increase water, sewer and stormwater rates and fees by 20%, scheduled for the next two years, but the Philadelphia Water Department Tariffs for Water, Sewage and Stormwater will hear testimony from residents this week, as required by the Self-Government Charter.
PWD’s new proposal to restructure billing rates, according to a January press release, costs the bill for increased costs from inflation, and since consumer payments cover department costs, residents may have to bear that burden.
From the first day of September this year, residents who pay their water bills could see an increase of 11.77% on their monthly billing statement, adding $8.16, resulting in a total expected bill of $77.47 as early as this year, per the PWD.
By September 2024, consumers could be looking at $83.92, or an overall increase of $14 over the next two years, with estimates measured by the PWD.
Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman said if the rates remain stagnant, “the Philadelphia Water Department will struggle to make the necessary investments in critical infrastructure, including replacing aging water mains, upgrading water treatment plants, the construction of storage for clean water and the maintenance of the pumping systems necessary to supply and treat the water”.
These changes will require more revenue, according to PWD. And with the increased rates, the department is set to raise $80 million in 2024, and an additional $62 million in 2025 if the city meets its request to increase consumer bills.
But PWD does not regulate itself and instead relies on a board appointed by a mayor who seeks approval from city councilors with strict deadlines including public testimony before making major changes to driver rates and consumer charges.
The Water, Sewer and Stormwater Rate Board, which receives notice from PWD, will hear testimony from residents in the coming days before making a final decision, and according to city ordinance, it must make an additional decision no later than 120 days from the date it is made. prior notice.
Can I testify?
The public hearings are accessible and open to Philadelphia residents, and under city code, residents are encouraged to have a say before the independent action board moves forward with rate changes.
Residents can register for any of the four virtual public hearings scheduled for Wednesday, March 22 and Thursday, March 23, at 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm both days.
To register, residents must send an email notification to (email protected) with information about the hearing they plan to attend to testify. The deadline for that email is March 21st.
If residents prefer to submit a written reference, they can do so by sending an email to (email protected)
If a resident prefers not to testify but wishes to attend the hearing, they can view it at tinyurl.com/WaterRateHearing.
Meeting ID: 256 248 9871
The board is expected to make its final decision in June 2023.