Lancaster businesses, homeowners to see higher water bills

Businesses and homeowners in portions of Lancaster County will soon be paying more for water.

But the increase is less than it would have been had Columbia Water Co.’s request for higher rates been approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

The commission Thursday approved a rate increase of 20.6 percent for businesses instead of the 100 percent-plus hike the company requested, according to Elizabeth Triscari, deputy small business advocate at the Office of Small Business Advocate.

Columbia Water serves approximately 10,223 customers in West Hempfield, Rapho, East Donegal and Manor townships, and Columbia, Mountville and Marietta boroughs, all in Lancaster County; along with Hellam Township in York County.

Rate increases for businesses are dependent on the size of the meter they use.

For businesses with a meter size of 5/8 inch, average monthly water bills will increase from $27.92 to $33.68.

Bills for businesses with a ¾ inch meter will increase from $49.83 to $60.12.

For businesses with a 1-inch meter, bills will rise from $56.63 to $68.32.

And bills for businesses with a 2-inch meter will jump from $166.11 to $200.42.

In a statement, the office of Small Business Advocate said it supports the new rates.

The estimated average monthly water bill for a residential customer who uses 3,000 gallons a month in the Columbia rate district, will increase from $36.66 to $39.81, according to the commission.

For customers in the Marietta rate district, the average monthly water bill will increase from $23.33 to $28.14, the commission said in a release.

Under Columbia Water’s request, the average monthly bill for residents would have increased by 17.8 percent to $39.50 in both water districts.

In settlement, the commission barred the company from seeking another general increase for at least 33 months.

The rate hikes will become effective one day after the tariff supplement is filed. A spokesperson for the commission was unsure when the company would file.

Officials at Columbia Water were not immediately available to comment.

Shelby White
Shelby White covers banking and finance, law and Lancaster County for the Central Penn Business Journal. For tips, email her at swhite@cpbj.com.

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