New York American Water announced a series of rate increases as part of a state-approved plan to encourage conservation while paying for infrastructure improvements that will hike monthly bills from $3.89 for low users to up to $10 for those who use more.
The rate increases are part of a four-year plan approved by the state Public Service Commission in 2016 that has led to varying levels of outcry from customers and public officials.
New York American Water late last year announced it would be sold to Liberty Utilities for $608 million in a transaction that is expected to close this summer, even as some customers push efforts to take all or part of the system public.
Most of the company’s customers use around 8,000 gallons a month, and for those customers the April 1 impacts are relatively less.
For instance, in the company's Lynbrook service area, bills for 8,000-gallon users will increase to $70.13 a month from a current $66.24, New York American Water said. For those in the Merrick region, bills for 8,000-gallon users will increase to $53.15 from a current $50.25. In its Sea Cliff region, average bills will increase to $80.35 from $76.89.
For Merrick and Sea Cliff customers, bills starting in April will include a new fourth tier charge for the highest users. Above 15,000 gallons, customers will pay 61.6 cents for every 100 gallons, up from the current 50.7 cents.
For those who use 20,000 gallons a month in the Merrick area, the bill will increase to $139.97 from $129.94, while Sea Cliff-area bills will jump to $207.91 from $196.49 a month, New York American Water said.
The higher charges for increased usage are part of an effort to dissuade customers from using more water in line with state policies, the company said. Watchdogs have noted that even as customers use less, the company is afforded mechanisms in state rates that allow them to recoup its declines through makeup charges.
This year, the company is rolling out a plan to install new smart meters across the Nassau territory — some 126,500 customers -- starting in May.
In Lynbrook, the first 3,000 gallons on April 1 will increase to just over 49 cents per every 100 gallons compared with 46 cents now. The next 3,000 will cost 67.7 cents, from a current 62.6 cents, while the next 9,000 gallons will jump to 97.2 cents from 90 cents for every 100 gallons. At the top tier, above 15,000 gallons, the cost jumps to $1.2849 from a current $1.1771 for every hundred gallons, the company said.
Accordingly, for those Lynbrook area customers in service area 1 using 20,000 gallons a month, monthly bills will increase to $209.66, from a current $195.19.