Sep 06, 2017
In June West Virginia American Water filed an application with the Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia seeking approval of its 2018 infrastructure replacement program and associated Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC). The detailed plan includes $29.9 million in system-wide upgrades that West Virginia American Water will make in 2018, including $23.5 million to replace or upgrade more than 39 miles of water mains, $4 million to replace service lines and fire hydrants and $2.4 million to replace and upsize two water storage tanks.
“With this annual infrastructure replacement program in place, we have been able to expand our capital program and reduce our main replacement cycle from 400 years to 100 years, replacing approximately 4,000 feet of pipe per week,” said Brian Bruce, president of West Virginia American Water. “The accelerated investment achieved through the DSIC program strengthens our water system, creates operational efficiencies and reduces costs long-term for our customers.”
As part of this program, a surcharge is calculated each year based on capital investments made annually until these investments are rolled into the company’s rates in a future rate case. If approved, the plan would increase the current Distribution System Improvement Charge from 1.09 percent in 2017 to 3.28 percent in 2018, representing an increase of $1.04 per month for the average residential customer using 3,256 gallons.
“Annual DSIC programs provide transparency to our customers and allow for up-front regulatory review and approval of our proposed infrastructure upgrades to confirm that they are in the best interest of our customers,” Bruce continued. “In turn, our customers receive increased service reliability from these projects and pay a small monthly surcharge rather than experiencing higher rate increases several years later that reflect multiple years of company investments.”
West Virginia American Water’s current DSIC includes $18 million in water main replacement projects, $7 million for the construction of two new 4-million-gallon water storage tanks and $4 million in service line and fire hydrant replacements in the 2017 calendar year. In an effort to improve communication about these investments to customers, West Virginia American Water recently launched its 2017 Infrastructure Upgrade StoryMap – a user-friendly, easily accessible online map that allows customers to view details about water main replacement projects and other capital investments as they are under construction and completed. West Virginia is the first state within American Water to use an interactive web-based map to display these types of projects and hopes that by doing so, customers will be able to see the size and scope of the investments the company is making across its service area.
West Virginia American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest water utility in the state, providing high quality and reliable water services to approximately 550,000 people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada.
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