Joplin water users could see an increase in rates next summer based on a request Missouri American Water filed Tuesday with the Missouri Public Service Commission.
The utility said Tuesday that its request reflects $920 million in water system improvements made statewide or planned from January 2018 through May 2022.
If the request is approved in full, a residential customer in Joplin using 4,000 gallons per month would pay about $40. That is an increase of about $6 per month.
“We carefully plan and invest in our water and sewer systems to provide safe, clean and reliable service to nearly 1.5 million Missourians in more than 200 communities across the state,” Debbie Dewey, president of Missouri American, said in a statement. “These investments are key to our commitment to provide outstanding service and reliability, both now and for future generations.”
Investments included in the rate case include replacement of about 275 miles of aging water lines and the upgrading of treatment plants, storage tanks, wells and pumping stations across the state.
Matt Barnhart, senior operations manager for the southwest division, which includes Joplin, said in a statement: “With more than 515 miles of water pipe serving area customers, we must continue to make these investments to maintain and improve service.”
The Public Service Commission’s review and audit of the company’s request is expected to take 11 months. Any new rates set by regulators would not become effective until mid-2021.
Dewey said in a statement that Missouri American is continuing to respond to financial hardship cases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for residents and businesses. The company has issued a temporary moratorium on shut-offs for nonpayment and suspended all late fees since March, and it continues to offer payment arrangements to customers who need assistance. Additionally, the company provides financial assistance to low-income customers through its H2O Help to Others Program.
Missouri American provides drinking water to the Joplin area.