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New York American Water surcharge may be coming in 2021 because of coronavirus

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In response to the coronavirus pandemic, New York American Water announced on March 25 that it is postponing its scheduled April 1 rate hike until Sept. 1. The rate hike would see households in the North Shore Water District using 8,000 gallons of water per month have a bill increase from $76.89 to $80.35. A household using 20,000 gallons of water per month would have an increase of $196.49 to $207.91.

NYAW President Lynda DiMenna said the company hopes to provide relief to ratepayers during this difficult time.

Despite the rate hike postponement, Nadel said she is still concerned about a potential surcharge coming ratepayers’ way in the future.

According to a rate order postponement document posted on the Public Service Commission’s website on March 25, NYAW proposes to recover any revenue shortfall resulting from the postponement through a surcharge beginning on April 1, 2021 and lasting until March 31, 2022. This would enable the company to up its charges to ratepayers in order to recover any money which it deems to have lost due to the pandemic.

The exact amount of money that would be added to water bills was not indicated in the document.

Nadel said she was upset to find this information, not only because of the extra money residents may have to pay, but also because she was not aware of it beforehand. People would have only found out about it if they looked at the PSC website, she said, which is not a normal practice for most people.

“This is a time where the community and everyone in this country really has to come together,” Nadel said. “It’s a time where people have to be put ahead of profit and ahead of corporations’ gain.”

“The postponement is immensely helpful during this crisis of epic proportions,” she later added, “but there should never be a surcharge later to collect for the ‘under-collections’ from the postponement period.”

NSCC representatives said they have not lost sight of the ultimate goal of creating a public water entity, said member George Pombar, who is also the president of the Glen Head-Glenwood Civic Council.

“Our goal continues to be obtaining municipal water and removing any private company who seeks to enrich their shareholders by being our water supplier,” he said.