Hearings wrapping up for public comment on proposed Missouri-American rate increases

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The Missouri Public Service Commission is wrapping up public hearings in the St. Louis area Tuesday to field comments on proposed rate increases for Missouri-American Water Company customers.The utility, which serves most of St. Louis County and parts of St. Charles County in addition to other swaths of the state, is seeking the PSC’s approval for a $75 million jump in revenue for water and wastewater service.Rate hikes for residential, metered quarterly customers in the area, however, would increase by 45 to 48 percent under the proposed plan, including growth of a fixed charge from $22.35 to $30. Most area customers are billed quarterly, though the utility said it hopes to transition more to monthly billing systems, after installation of “advanced metering infrastructure” is expanded.
“Historically we did quarterly billing because it was expensive to send meter readers every month,” said Brian Russell, an external affairs manager for the company.The advanced meters, he explained, are devices “that will wirelessly transmit your data to us every hour,” allowing the company to remotely take more regular readings.Russell said about one-third of the area’s 340,000 customers have advanced metering currently. Shifting them to monthly billing is part of the proposal before the PSC, he said.
The PSC held question-and-answer sessions followed by public comment hearings in Maryland Heights and Ferguson on Monday. On Tuesday, sessions were scheduled to begin at Arnold City Hall at noon, and in the Summit Room at UMSL’s J.C. Penney Building at 5:30 p.m.Hearings in Jefferson City, Branson and Joplin are scheduled for later in the week.
Those unable to attend public hearings are able to submit written comments or obtain additional information by writing to the PSC, or emailing pscinfo@psc.mo.gov.They can also contact the state Office of Public Counsel, which stands up for consumer …


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