Philly water rates could soon rise under city proposal

A close-up of a water meter.

Philadelphia Water Department has filed for a rate hike. (begun1983 / BigStock)

The Philadelphia Water Department has filed for a rate hike.

The two-part filing will include an increase designed to cover “costs of essential services” to keep the city’s municipally-owned utility stable, according to a statement from the city.

The filing cited “rising costs of labor, chemicals, materials equipment, lab services and capital costs” as factors in needing a rate hike.

The hike amounts to $8 per month for the first year on an average consumer bill. That is expected to generate $80 million for the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1. The second-year increase for an average customer would be just under $6.50. That would create an extra $60 million for the fiscal year beginning on Sept. 1, 2024, according to the filing.

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At the end of the two years, a bill that is currently $69 a month will go up to $84.

“Without these rate changes, the Philadelphia Water Department will struggle to make needed investments in critical infrastructure, including replacing aging water mains, upgrading water treatment plants, building storage for clean water, and sustaining the pumping systems needed to deliver and treat water,” said Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy Hayman, in a statement.

Mayor Jim Kenney added, “Recognizing the financial impact that a necessary rate change will have on Philadelphia households, we plan to work with City Council and partners to realize proposals that will address the affordability of water services.”

Part of the costs factored into the hike are Philadelphia’s nationally-recognized Tiered Assistance Program, and expanding outreach and engagement in order to cover the bills of people who can’t afford to pay for service.

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