Public meeting scheduled as Beckley Water Company continues to propose rate hike

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A public input meeting has been scheduled for the Beckley Water Company’s proposed rate hikes. The meeting is scheduled for March 15 at 10 a.m. in the Tamarack Conference Center.

It is being held by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia. The commission has 132 letters of protest on record about the rate increase, according to its website.

Beckley Water Company has requested increased rates that total just above 4.7 million dollars each year. That adds up to an increase of 30 percent. The first increase would cost customers at least $9 per month.

There would be a second increase of $4.61 after the company’s construction projects are completed.

In legal filings with the Public Service Commission, the Beckley Water Company says that rate increases are necessary to offset increased operating expenses since 2021 when it last increased rates.

“The Company last filed for rate relief in 2021. Since then, the Company has experienced increases in operating expenses across all departments of operations including but not limited to payroll, transportation, purchased power, professional services, chemicals, and employee benefits. The Company also has a need for many capital items that will require borrowing from a bank,” Superintendent Jonathan Stanley said in testimony to the Public Service Commission.

Further, the company plans to increase wages for its employees.

The Company approved a base wage floor of $15.00 per hour and any full-time employee making less than that amount will receive an increase accordingly. Also, the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) will be applied incrementally. The first incremental increase of 5% will occur upon PSC approval of the new rates, and the second incremental increase of 3.7% will occur upon the date that the new rates go into effect. The total COLA will be 8.7%, in line with the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income increases for 2023,” Stanley said.

There will be no increase in rates or charges until the Public Service Commission approves them.

Newswatch will continue to follow this story and will keep you updated.

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