Several public hearings will be held throughout the state concerning New Jersey American Water’s request for a rate increase that would be coming sometime in the first half of 2012 if approved. The request, filed with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), would affect more than 640,000 residential and commercial customers in New Jersey. The closest of the four meetings is in Westfield on the Dec. 14:
Tuesday, December 6:
2 p.m. Ocean City Public Library
7 p.m. Westampton Township Municipal Building
Wednesday, December 14
2 p.m. Howell Township Municipal Building
7 p.m. Westfield, NJ Public Library
According to Richard G. Barnes, External Affairs Manager of NJAW, "If approved by the BPU, the new rates for NJAW customers in Maplewood would average $57.36 a month based on 6,500 gallons of water. The current average rate is $49.69. The difference in the current and proposed rate is 15 percent."
In a recent story in the Asbury Park Press, Barnes said, “Water is among the lowest costing of the household utilities. We’re still delivering water for less than a penny per gallon.” The Press reported, "Barnes justified the company’s increases, saying it has invested more than $1.8 billion in infrastructure within the past seven years."
NJ American Water is currently building facility in Short Hills. After Hurricane Irene, the current , causing local homes to be for nearly a week and more in some areas.