Missouri American Water customers oppose proposed rate increase at public hearing Thursday

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BRANSON MO NEWS: ‪Missouri American Water customers could soon be paying more if a proposed water and sewer rate increase is approved by the Public Service Commission. ‬

‪”It’s upsetting. It’s just upsetting,” Stonebridge Village Resident Jerry Swinehart said. ‬
‪Swinehart says the increase would mean he would pay about 68 percent more each month. That is on top of other increases that, he says, were only recently put into place.‬
‪”Prior to 2015, we were paying $2.37 per 1,000 gallons. Then, in 2016, Missouri American Water raised our rate to $3.74 per 1,000 galllons. Now, their proposed rate is $6.29 per 1,000 gallons of water, which is a 265% increase in the last three years,” Swinehart said.‬
‪He is not happy about it. ‬
‪”That is just ridiculous,” Swinehart said‬
‪Other customers who showed up to a public hearing in Branson Thursday weren’t happy about the proposal either. ‬
‪”That’s why we are here today. Honestly, the day that we can’t agree to disagree in a room about issues is a sad day,” Missouri American Water External Affairs Manager ‬Christie Barnhart said.

‪Barnhart says company leaders would like to raise rates, mainly, to pay for infrastructure improvements completed throughout the state. ‬
‪”When we do system improvements, we have to make the improvements, then try to cover the cost of those improvements,” Barnhart said. ‬
‪However, local customers say they shouldn’t have to pay for improvements that were made in areas other than where they live. The company says the rate change would make it so all customers throughout the state pay the same rate.‬
‪”The reason that I tell people that’s a good thing is whenever you’re looking at capitol improvements and you can spread that cost among a larger group of people, that creates an economy of scale that we feel is advantageous for the customer,” Barnhart said. ‬
‪Stonebridge Village is just one of several …


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