The potential sale of the water and wastewater utilities to Virginia American Water (VAW) has the potential to substantially raise rates in Cape Charle. While the future is unwritten and the end is always near, it would seem healthy to at least try and glean some form of historical context.
In 2008 Virginia American Water (VAW) was permitted to raise rates by nearly 9% from the State Corporation Commission. In 2010, VAW received approval for an additional 14% hike, which was followed by rate increases of 6% in 2011, 10% in 2015, and 3% in 2018, for a total of more than $16 million in rate increases over a ten-year span. Most recently, in 2021, VAW requested to raise rates another $14 million or roughly 28 percent across their serviced districts. The SCC has yet to issue a final order on the current proposal. But due to recent legislation that allows private water utilities to consolidate rates across serviced municipalities, there is little doubt, that if sold, Cape Charles will feel the increases. – Dr. Martin Mayer
In 2012, Virginia American Water (VAW) has requested a general rate increase of approximately 15.9 percent for Prince William, Alexandria, Hopewell, and Eastern Districts. The portion VAW is requesting for its Prince William District is $1,841,276 amounting to a 24.81 percent increase in rates in the Prince William District.
The actual data for Alexandria was supplied by the research of citizen Dr. Martin Mayer:
|Year||District||Rate Request||Rate Approved||Raw Number Request||Raw Number Approved||Baseline Rate||Increase|
Below are the latest requests (2021) as well as the most recent approved order (2018). In 2018, Hopewell, Alexandria, and the State Attorney General Office of Consumer Counsel were all involved in the rate hike hearings.
Loraine Huchler says
Here’s why the historical rate increases for VAW matter to Cape Charles. At the town hall meeting, VAW implied that within two to three years, after the state rate commission (SCC) finished implementing the recent state law called “consolidation,” that requires rates to be equalized across all service areas and rate increases to be synchronized across all service areas. That means that Cape Charles, with a stranded service area that requires a huge investment to expand to the nearest population center, Cheriton, and has a relatively new plant with limited infrastructure needs, will be subsidizing the other service areas for their infrastructure costs. And the Town’s 10 year projections of rates is not accurate – it’s an estimate by the PPEA consultant. VAW was very vague about when and how much the rates will decrease in Cape Charles. And look carefully at that 10 year rate projection – after year 7, rates increase. All of the PPEA and the town’s discussion of rates is complete speculation – look at the historical actions of VAW to request and receive rate increases every two to five years – and they are requesting a whopping 28% increase in 2022 for all service areas.