Martin County Water District appears in front of Public Service Commission for another rate increase

Martin County Water District proposes another rate increase
Martin County Water District proposes another rate increase
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) -Martin County Water District appeared in front of Kentucky’s Public Service Commission Thursday in a public hearing asking for an emergency rate hike.

The proposed emergency rate increase for the Martin County Water District would be 11.7%.

The new rate increase proposal follows a previous emergency rate increase of 26.5% granted to martin County by the state Public Service commission in 2019. If the new increase is approved, Martin County ratepayers will be paying more than double what they were more than four years ago.

For most water systems in Kentucky, rate hikes cover operating costs. Whereas state and federal grants or loans typically cover infrastructure improvements such as new water tanks or pumps. In this case, Martin County Water District plans to use the money to improve the water meter reading system, generators, water line replacement at multiple locations, and service repairs and upgrades at the plant.

According to the public record, the Martin County Water plant was built in 1968. Initially built to support 600 people, and the facility provides services to 3500.

Craig Miller, the division manager of Alliance Water Resources who provides services to Martin County Water District, testified in front of the commission that " an infusion of cash would be needed to improve the infrastructure and would not be possible without a rate increase.”

A study published by the Appalachia Citizen’s Law Center found the current cost of water was unaffordable for 45.8% of Martin County Water Households.

A final decision from Public Service Commission for Kentucky is made generally a few weeks after the formal hearing.

To watch the public hearing, click here.

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