Public water utilities seeking to increase water rates would have to provide notice to customers of any hearing or proceeding to be held by the Board of Public Utilities involving such a request under a bill approved by an Assembly committee.

Flickr User Michael Hamann

The notice would have to be given within a reasonable time before a hearing or proceeding and shall be conspicuously enclosed within the bills for service sent by the utility, or other written notice as appropriate.

“Consumers are trying to save every dollar they can, but too often water companies spring rate increases on them without sufficient notice,” says bill co-sponsor, Assemblyman Herb Conaway. “We all know the frustration of suddenly seeing our water bill skyrocket, so this let’s make sure customers have the information they need before any increase takes effect.”

Assemblyman Troy Singleton also sponsors the measure. He says, “Consumer awareness is always a priority, especially when it comes to the potential for increased rates. Hopefully, the BPU and utilities will see fit to properly control water rates, but this bill will at least help make customers aware ahead of time so they can prepare for potential increases. This is consumer protection and open government.”

The bill would take effect immediately. It was released yesterday by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

 

Conaway explains, “This bill will allow consumers to not only fight an increase, but to be prepared for one should it be approved.”