Missouri American Water customers concerned about a rate increase will have to wait until a ruling from the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) this summer to learn the fate of the utility’s newest proposal.
Last year, the utility filed with the PSC for a 19.63 percent rate increase to the base rates for both its water and wastewater customers. The nearly 20 percent increase is somewhat misleading for Platte County customers as some municipalities do not contract through the utility for wastewater treatment and a large part of the increase is due to those sewer operations.
The City of Parkville handles its own water treatment, and Riverside currently contracts with the city of Kansas City for those services. Only 105 customers in Platte County are serviced by Missouri American Water’s wastewater system. Those customers would pay an additional $4.28 per month.
Part of Missouri American Water’s proposal includes the consolidation of Mexico, Mo. and Jefferson City, Mo. into the Platte County district. If the Public Service Commission approves this regional consolidation of rates, the average water customer in Platte County could see a bill reduction of nearly 10 percent, or about $6 per month. It is unknown how the rate commission will rule, but there was a similar consolidation approved recently in the Branson, Mo. area.
A PSC hearing was held in Riverside Feb. 1, with elected officials from affected municipalities and a few residents attending to voice their concerns.
Parkville mayor Nan Johnston said she found some of the customer testimony about water quality compelling, and she looked forward to the results of any investigation on water quality issues. Southern Platte County residents serviced by the utility have complained about the quality of the water and the detrimental effect it has had on household appliances such as hot water heaters.
At the Feb. 1 meeting, PSC representatives suggested residents with any concerns about their water quality take samples to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for testing. Johnston echoed that recommendation at a recent board of aldermen meeting.
Water customers may send comments in writing to the Public Service Commission via its website at psc.mo.gov.
Missouri American Water serves about 1.5 million customers, mostly in the St. Louis area, but also services the Branson and St. Joseph areas. Missouri American Water is a subsidiary of American Water Inc., based in Voorhees, N.J.