CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Public Service Commission and West Virginia American Water are likely to announce an agreement on a water rate increase Tuesday morning.
The PSC began holding four days of scheduled hearings Monday about a proposed 21 percent rate increase requested by West Virginia American Water. The increase would impact about 250,000 families in the state.
West Virginia American Water customers who use 4,500 gallons of water a month would see their monthly bill raised by $10.49, from $50.50 to $60.99, according to a statement released last month by the West Virginia chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons, which opposes the request.
A "joint stipulation" agreement between the PSC and the water company is likely to be announced Tuesday morning, according to Susan Small, director of communications for the PSC, and Byron L. Harris, director of the PSC's Consumer Advocate Division.
The details of the agreement were not available Monday. The PSC often allows utilities to raise rates by a smaller amount than the utility requested.
Today's hearing will begin at 9 a.m. at the PSC building on Quarrier Street in downtown Charleston.
Discussions before the three-member PSC on Monday focused on disagreements between the company and the Utility Workers Union of America over issues including the number of employees hired and employee benefits.
Gregory Lanham, president of the UWUA's Huntington District, testified that West Virginia American Water has dropped down to 260 employees.
In March 2011, an agreement between the PSC and West Virginia American Water said the company would have 316 employees.
"We are backed up on our work," Lanham said. "Many of our pipes are 100 years old."