I was shocked when I read that Maryland American Water Company is asking the Maryland Public Service Commission for a 37 percent increase in rates from their customers, mainly the citizens and businesses of Bel Air.
They say they need the increase to cover the cost of the new reservoir that was built. We as customers will not own the new reservoir after we pay the $1,840,000 they will collect in new fees from us.
Maryland American is owned by American Water Works Company, Inc., stock symbol AWK. This company has revenues in excess of $3.357 billion; an annual profit of over $419,000,000 and makes over 13 percent profits. Its president and its CEO each made over $3.5 million last year.
We should not have to pay for an investment of a private company. The reservoir is an investment that AWK is making and the most they should receive is a return on their investment, maybe 3 percent in today's market.
Harford County water is already less expensive than Bel Air's (and tastes better). Go to the Harford county website to read how their rates are developed. The citizens of Harford County own their water system. Bel Air is already hooked up to Harford County's water system.
No one citizen can stop the rate increase, but if our Town government and the citizens join together we can object and it can be stopped. If not, maybe we should start to get our water from Harford County.
Not only will the citizens of Bel Air be paying individually one of the highest water bills in the state, but so will the Town, which is the biggest user of water. That means our taxes will have to go up. Businesses in Bel Air will need to raise prices to cover a water cost increase of 37 percent.
Please join in going to the Maryland Public Service Commission hearing (maybe we could get a bus full), writing to the commission, talking to the Town Commissioners and writing to American Water Company to voice your objections.
The writer is pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bel Air. Editor.