Hopewell's water bills could go up almost $8 monthly if state approves vendor's request
Virginia American Water Company says the rate hikes in May 2022 would help fund improvements to increase the city's fresh-water capacity by 2.5 million gallons
HOPEWELL — If state regulators agree to it, then water customers in the city could see their bills go up almost $8 a month starting next spring.
Virginia American Water Company said last week it had filed a request with the State Corporation Commission to raise rates for its customers in northern, central and eastern Virginia totaling $14.3 million. The company said in a statement that the increase would help pay for an estimated $137 million in infrastructure improvements between now and 2023.
For Hopewell, the company said that includes installing new intake, electrical and pumping structures, and the building of an elevated tank that increases drinking-water storage for the city by 2.5 million gallons.
"Every day, we are working to support and improve the water infrastructure in the communities we serve," VAWCO president Barry Suits said in the statement. "Our commitment to long-term, consistent investments in both our water and wastewater systems helps maintain the quality of service our customers expect and deserve."
Should SCC approve the request, Hopewell water customers would see their bills go up by $7.92 a month beginning May 1, 2022. That's the highest increase requested by Virginia American for all of its service locations in Virginia, including Alexandria, Prince William County and the Northern Neck.
Statewide, there are roughly 350,000 Virginia American customers.
The company's Hopewell water district covers all of Hopewell and Fort Lee, and portions of Prince George County. Virginia American says that is about 9,300 residential and business customers.
Virginia American only handles water services for the Hopewell district. It also handles wastewater services for its Prince William customers.
“To help mitigate rate increases for customers, we work very hard to control our costs and operate as efficiently as possible,” Suit said in the statement. “Even with these increases, the cost of high-quality, reliable, water service would continue to be about a penny per gallon and remain among the lowest household utility bills.”
Bill Atkinson (he/him/his) is daily news coach for USA TODAY's Southeast Region-Unified Central, which includes Virginia, West Virginia and central North Carolina. He is based in Petersburg, Virginia. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.