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Public hearing on proposed water rate hike tonight at Coventry High

Justin Sayles
06/08/2005
WASHINGTON VILLAGE --  Kent County Water Authority announced in January that it will seek a rate increase of 25 percent, the maximum amount in abbreviated filing to the PUC.

General Manager Timothy A. Brown previously said the hike will cost the average citizen about $7 per month. Brown said in a previous interview the rate will climb from $2.85 per 750 gallons to $3.50 per 750 gallons for residential customers. All other rates will also rise 25 percent, Brown said.

The average customer uses about 7,000 gallons per month, he said.

Looking to implement its first rate increase in three years, the authority is anticipating raising an additional $3 million annually. Brown said that the bulk of the money generated will go toward debt service costs that are related to KCWA’s Capital Improvement Program.

The authority is currently attempting to pay off three outstanding bonds, including a $24 million bond from 2002. Brown said that it would take the authority 20 years to repay all of the bonds.

Brown said that the debt service is a direct result of improvements that have been made to the authority’s systems. The former mill locations, including the central parts of Coventry, West Warwick and East Greenwich, have systems that date back to the 1880s.

In prefiled testimony given to the PUC, Brown said that none of the money generated is slated to increase the authority’s infrastructure funding. However, the commission reduces any item in the authority’s filing, he asked that the PUC consider increasing the $3.4 million infrastructure allowance KCWA currently has.

Christopher P.N. Woodcock, president of a water rate consulting firm that aided the authority with its filing, said in testimony to the PUC that there is a need to increase the infrastructure replacement allowance, but it is not reflected in the filing because KCWA limited its request to 25 percent.