At the Oct. 24 Prairie Township Board of Trustees meeting, a piece of news was discussed that had residents in attendance a bit upset after hearing it.
In March of this year, Ohio American Water (OAW) was given authorization by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to raise their rates up 19 percent for the upgrades and improvements to its facilities under the stipulation that they address their water softening issues at the plant.
“The residents are having issues with the service and the quality of the product,” said Chairman Steve Kennedy.
Each water company holds their own standards as to water hardness, which is measured in milligrams per liter (mg/l). According to the US Department of Interior and the Water Quality Association, their standards are 120-180 mg/l for hard water and 180 mg/l and above for very hard water.
“The OAW uses 130-150 as their standards for hard water,” Kennedy said. “Since they do their own tests they say they are at 150 grains of hardness.”
Kennedy went on to say that he did his own detective work on the grains of hardness the water has in it, and it is well above that which OAW says, but doesn’t want to unveil his findings yet.
The reason this is an issue now, is because the OAW has informed Prairie Township that they will again ask PUCO for another rate increase for their Lake Darby service area, which services Lake Darby Estates and West Pointe subdivisions.
In the memorandum Terry Gloriod, President of OAW gave Kennedy, he stated “the average water customer bill for seven Ccf (100 cubic feet of water) used monthly would increase by 32.89 percent, or an additional $11.88 every month, or $0.40 per day. The average sewer customer bill for seven Ccf used monthly would increase by 36.80 percent, or an additional $15.50 every month, or $0.52 per day. The average combined water and sewer customer bill for seven Ccf used monthly would increase by 34.98 percent, or an additional $27.38 every month, or $0.88 per day.”
The increased rates would go toward continued infrastructure improvements, the hiring of additional service personnel to maintain and improve plant and distribution services, increases in wages, insurance and benefits and increases in operational costs.
The trustees are concerned about this requested rate increase because they feel OAW has not established any improvements in water quality.
“We have no legal part in rate increase, but we need to back the residents in any way we can,” Kennedy said.
The measure the board took was to adopt a resolution stating their rate increase request is “inappropriate given ongoing problems with water softening at that facility and urging the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to reject said rate increase request.”
It normally takes PUCO five to seven months to prepare an analysis of the application. There will be a public meeting concerning the application, although the date has yet to be determined.