Veolia customers could see higher bills if proposed changes to water service is approved
Residents who get their water from Veolia could see changes that affect both their water and wallet.
Veolia filed a $473 million plan Friday that includes upgrades to water mains and treatment plants.
However, if it goes through the way it was presented, this plan will also add at least $5 onto customers' monthly water bill.
The plan, which was filed with the New York State Public Service Commission, includes replacements for water mains, service lines, hydrants and meters. Also included in the plan are upgrades to water treatment plants, safety and security and the replacement of equipment that will increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Those changes come at a cost, however. These numbers are for the average residential water bill which would be about an extra $5.64 per month in Rockland and Orange counties, $11.80 per month in Westchester County, $15.60 in Tioga County and $5.99 in Putnam County.
In a press release, Veolia called affordability a key factor, saying, "When we plan necessary investments in our water system, affordability for all our customers is a chief concern, and that’s reflected in the plan we have put forward."
Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski said he is very concerned about the potential hikes.
Zebrowski said while there is no doubt that infrastructure improvements are necessary, the prices just cannot get any higher.
"We are dealing with the most expensive water rates in the state of New York right now. So if you have a 14% increase on top of the most expensive base, it's just not rates that my residents can afford," he said.
Zebrowski added that he will work hard for residents who are concerned about possible rate hikes and the rest of his constituents.
He plans to find a way to get this plan paired down. He said he is going to be dig into the numbers and also look for grants that might be available.