Community rallies after proposed water rate hike

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Rates for water could be on the rise for residents in Scranton and Dunmore. Earlier in November, Pennsylvania American Water (PAW) proposed water and sewage rate increases of up to 32% for the areas of Scranton and Dunmore.

According to local lawmakers, these rate hikes are being caused by the need to repair aging infrastructure in the area.

A plan proposed by PAW to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission could significantly raise water and sewer rates for people in Dunmore and Scranton.

Local lawmakers and residents are fighting back, saying the rates are too high to handle.

“These aren’t just numbers on a page. They’re a burden on the affordability to our residents,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Marty Flynn.

After Scranton and Dunmore homeowners were hit with a more than 70% rate increase back in January, PAW has proposed even more increases, ranging from 25% to 32%.

“We cannot expect our constituents between paying their utility bills or affording essential medicines,” Fylnn explained.

On Monday, Flynn, along with State Representative Kyle Mullins, Kyle Donahue, and Bridget Kosierowski called for a community campaign to take action against PAW, but they’re not the only ones who are outraged over the proposed rate hikes.

Local residents say they’re not happy about the proposed increases.

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“It’s just out of line. As a person trying to make things work, it’s just not happening,” one Scranton resident expressed.

Ann Harrington is a senior citizen who lives in the southside section of Scranton.

“It’s ridiculous. It really is ridiculous,” Harrington said.

She’s on a fixed income and says these rate hikes would put a strain on her financially. She says it’s time for big corporations like PAW to start thinking about the little guys.

“Just think about the common people. And all these CEOs that are making all this money and all these people that are collecting money on their stocks, to think about us. We don’t have all that stuff. We’re just going from payday to payday and it’s tough sometimes,” Harrington added.

According to the officials, at Monday’s conference, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has until March 2024 to make a decision on the proposed rate increases.

If they pass, they’ll go into effect for residents in August.

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