CHARLESTON, W.Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
West Virginia American Water announced today the launch of a new program to provide a 20 percent discount on current residential water rates for certain low income households. The program, which will be offered year-round, was recently approved by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia.
“We pursued this program with the support of the state of West Virginia as a way to lessen the impact of rate increases for customers struggling to make ends meet,” said President Jeff McIntyre. “While we have made sincere efforts to make water service even more affordable for those customers in the greatest need, water service costs continue to increase due to much- needed capital investment to ensure the reliability of water service and to meet more stringent regulations.”
To qualify, one must be a residential West Virginia American Water customer and currently receive at least one of the following:
- SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
- WV WORKS
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and be 60 years of age or older
“Our current rates provide customers with high-quality water service at an exceptional value – approximately a penny per gallon,” McIntyre said. “With this discount program in place, some customers will now receive this service for even less than a penny per gallon.”
Under the program, the average residential household bill (3,315 gallons) would be discounted from $39.11 to $31.29 per month and the minimum bill (1,500 gallons) would be discounted from $21.67 to $17.34 per month.
Eligibility for this program is determined by the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources (WVDHHR). West Virginia American Water customers who are determined by WVDHHR to be eligible will receive a special application in the mail from WVDHHR within the next two weeks. These applications are customized specifically for this program and are the only way for customers to enroll. Customers who are certain that they qualify but have not received an application in the mail by mid-May should contact their local WVDHHR office.
“The water bill is one of the lowest household utility bills that customers pay. However, the money they pay through water bills covers the costs of essential system improvements, as well as operating costs associated with the treatment, monitoring and distribution of your water,” McIntyre said. “This program is a way to recognize that saving even a few dollars a month is meaningful to many of our customers in greatest need, while still recognizing that water rates must reflect the true cost of providing service in a geographically challenging and often sparsely populated area.”
In the past, West Virginia American Water has offered utility assistance through the Dollar Energy Fund, which historically has provided one-time grants to a few hundred eligible West Virginia American Water customers each year. This new low income customer assistance program will allow thousands of customers to receive assistance each month, year-round. The PSC’s Consumer Advocate Division estimates that approximately five to 10 percent of the company’s residential customers will be eligible for this 20 percent discount.
The program is underwritten by the state through a credit against the company’s business and occupation tax. Customers paying full water rates will not be subsidizing other West Virginia American Water customers through this program. Likewise, grants made through Dollar Energy are made possible by the shareholders of West Virginia American Water, not its customers.
West Virginia American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (AWK), is the largest water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water services to approximately 550,000 people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.westvirginiaamwater.com.
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