Intervention deadline set for for water company rate case

·3 min read

Jul. 9—The deadline to intervene and participate in a request for a rate increase sought by Missouri American Water is July 26, the Missouri Public Service Commission announced this week.

The utility on July 1 filed a request for a rate increase with the Missouri PSC to recover nearly $770 million in investments it said it has either completed or has planned between January 2021 and May 2023.

If approved in full by the PSC, the bill for a typical water customer, defined as someone using an average of 4,200 gallons monthly, would increase $12 or $13 per month.

The bill for a typical wastewater customer would stay about the same, and the bill for flat-rate wastewater customers would increase by $3 to $10 per month, depending on the service area.

Missouri American provides drinking water to Joplin but does not provide sewer service for the city.

Current bills also include an adjustment for the Water and Sewer Infrastructure Act to help pay for some completed projects. Under the rate review process, these projects are reviewed and may be included in any new rates set by regulators.

According to the PSC, Missouri American is asking regulators to approve an increase in current annual water and sewer revenues by $99.6 million, or 25.7%.

The rate request is expected to take up to 11 months, meaning new rates would not go into effect until late spring 2023, five years after the last change in base water rates for its customers, Missouri American noted in the announcement.

Applications to intervene and participate must be filed no later than July 26 with the Secretary of the Missouri Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri, 65102, or by using the Commission's Electronic Filing and Information System (EFIS) at www.psc.mo.gov.

Individual citizens wishing to comment on the request can contact either the Office of the Public Counsel or the staff of the PSC.

The Office of Public Counsel can be reached at Governor Office Building, 200 Madison St., Suite 650, P.O. Box 2230, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-2230, telephone 866-922-2959, or email opcservice@opc.mo.gov). The Office of the Public Counsel is a separate state agency that represents the general public in matters before the Commission.

PSC staff can be reached at P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102, telephone 1-800-392-4211, or email pscinfo@psc.mo.gov).

Missouri American said in a statement that statewide investments in the rate case include the replacement or installation of 280 miles of older water and wastewater pipelines, upgrading of treatment plants, storage tanks, wells, pumping and lift stations, fire hydrants, meters and more.

Among those projects is the replacement of the high-service pump station building and its pumps in Joplin. The utility this spring filed a building permit with the city of Joplin for a new high-service pump station at its treatment plant at 21st Street and Murphy Avenue in Joplin. The pump station will replace units in service since 1983. The project includes a new building to house the pump. The project is valued at $6.6 million, according to the building permit, with completion projected for December.

Missouri American also has been upgrading a series of water lines in the Royal Heights area of northern Joplin from 2 inches wide to 8 inches, and company officials have said other areas of the city are due for a similar project, including some on the south side of town and an area near Connor Avenue and A and B streets near Main Street.

Missouri American is a subsidiary of American Water, the largest investor-owned water utility in the country, providing water and wastewater services to approximately 1.5 million people in the state, including water for Joplin.