The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) announced that, in its work to finalize its rate proposal, it has reached an agreement that would deliver greater incentives for stormwater improvement, enhance customer assistance programs, and support infrastructure investments in 2024.
PWSA’s rate proposal was submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) in May 2023 and included rate increases. Public groups, including Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh United and the state Office of the Consumer Advocate, had opposed the rate proposal.
The terms of the settlement will go before the PUC for final approval and, if approved, would go into effect no sooner than February 15, 2024.
“We’re pleased to propose a settlement to the PUC that balances enhancing our customer bill assistance programs while continuing to advance our essential infrastructure upgrades,” said PWSA’s CEO Will Pickering. “With these additional resources, we’re confident that we can deliver on our commitment to provide a modern, reliable water system that will serve current and future generations of Pittsburghers.”
The terms of the settlement is limited to setting rates for 2024 only, with PWSA agreeing to withdraw the request for increases in 2025 and 2026. All parties agreed to a base rate revenue increase of $36,000,000 in the next year, which is $10.8 million less than PWSA requested in its original proposal for 2024.
The rate increase allowed by the settlement for next year is 37% of what PWSA originally requested in the three-year proposal initially brought forward for 2024 through 2026. With PUC approval, the new rates would be effective in February 2024.
If approved, the monthly PWSA bill for a typical residential customer using 3,000 gallons of water per month and charged the base rate for stormwater, would increase by $13.84. For the typical residential customer enrolled in the Bill Discount program, their monthly bill would increase by $5.80. Customers can also expect the Distribution System Improvement Charge or DSIC to remain at 5%.
Once the PUC approves the settlement, more information will be provided on changes to individual customer classes including residential, residential bill discount customers, and non-residential classes including commercial, industrial, and health and education.
Stormwater Incentives, Credit Program, Community Education
PWSA said that customers can expect a one-time $40 rain barrel credit. Installing a rain barrel on one’s property is a simple solution to capture and repurpose the water to maintain your lawn or garden.
There will also be expanded community outreach to further educate customers on the need to manage stormwater, collaboration with Pittsburgh Public Schools to identify stormwater mitigation efforts, and broader education about the steps Pittsburgh residents and property owners can take to receive a stormwater credit to reduce their stormwater fee.