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Maryland community faces 255% water rate price hike

Maryland Water Service, Inc. proposing to consolidate rates for several communities
Posted at 4:36 PM, Feb 08, 2022

SEVERN, Md. — The president of the Provinces Community Association has been working hard to get the information out.

"We've been trying to get word out, we've had a lot of response," says Cynthia Williams. "I've had a lot of phone calls, personally, phone calls and emails from homeowners in the community, concerned about this price hike."

The price hike is proposed by Maryland Water Services, Inc., the company that provides water and sewer service to the Provinces and several other communities in Maryland.

The company submitted the proposal to the Public Service Commission, hoping to consolidate the prices for all the communities it covers - and having them each pay the same price per gallon.

For some communities, that means a 30% increase in price. But, for the Provinces community, it will mean a 255% increase in their water rate.

"The average household in our community pays $22.60 a month, their water bill and their proposal would increase that average monthly cost to $80.20," says Williams.

The increase could make a huge impact on community members like Linda Lenhart.

"I'm retired on a fixed income, and Medicare, you know, just went up to it's, it's a, you got to may end up choosing and, you know, I hate to say it between medicine and quarterly bills, and monthly bills, what have you," she says.

The company, it its original petition filed with the Public Service Commission, says it earned a return of negative 1.88% for the test year ending on June 30, 2021. MWS proposes increasing its revenue requirement and therefore needing to increase the water rates for customers in the Provinces, Highland Estates, Pinto, Lake Vista and Green Ridge.

"The Company recognizes that these percentage increases are sizable, especially for Provinces customers. While the proposed revenue requirement is supported and the improvements made to the systems since their last rate cases represent meaningful reliability, environmental, and safety improvements, the Company is open to discussions with the Commission's Technical Staff and the Office of the People's Counsel related to concepts to address rate shock, such as an incremental or phased-in approach to rate consolidation. "

- Application of Maryland Water Service, Inc. For Authority to Revise and Consolidate Rates, Charges, and Tariff Provisions for Water and Sewage Disposal Services

A public hearing to discuss this matter, and hear from both the company and the community was held on January 27.

The second hearing for this takes place on the Public Service Commission's YouTube page tonight at 6:30pm.

The Commission will accept comments on this through February 25th, according to Williams.