In January, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) filed advance notice with the Philadelphia Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board of its request to increase water, sewer and stormwater rates and charges over the next two years.
The rate changes are designed to address rising costs for essential services and to ensure the stability of PWD.
Over the next couple of years, increasing costs in labor, chemicals, materials, equipment, laboratory services and capital costs are among a number of factors that will together drive increasing revenue needs.
Recognizing the impacts of rising costs for Philadelphia residents, PWD and Water Revenue Bureau remain committed to attaining more affordable bills for vulnerable households, achieving greater participation in Philadelphia’s nationally recognized Tiered Assistance Program (TAP), and expanding outreach and engagement.
Virtual Public Input Hearings
As part of a rate-setting process that puts a priority on transparency, there will be four public hearings held virtually:
- Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 3 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 6 p.m.
- Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 3 p.m.
- Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 6 p.m.
You may listen or participate via Zoom.
- To call in, dial +1 (267) 831-0333
- Use meeting ID: 256 248 9871 and password: 12345
Hearings will be accessible online and by phone and conducted in English. Anyone can attend.
Let your voice be heard:
- If you want to testify at a virtual public hearing, you are encouraged to email WaterRateBoard@phila.gov by March 21. Be sure to include your name, the phone number you’ll be calling in from, and at which hearing (date/time) you’d like to testify.
- You may email written comments by April 25, including your name.
More information can be found on the Rate Board website.
Watch, listen, or participate:
Tips for Participating in Public Hearings
This is your opportunity to make the Rate Board and the Water Department aware of any relevant concerns that you have regarding the rates proposed in this proceeding.
Sign on early
Although Zoom is not particularly complicated, it sometimes takes a while to sign on or call in. Try to sign on or call in 5 to 15 minutes early. You will then have the opportunity to hear the introductions and the Hearing Officer’s instructions.
Sign up if you want to testify
Witnesses are usually called to testify in the order they have signed up. You may sign up by emailing WaterRateBoard@phila.gov. Please indicate which hearing you plan to attend. You may still speak if you have not preregistered, but you may need to wait until the end of the hearing.
Prepare what you want to say in advance
It is helpful to prepare your statement ahead of time. If you are nervous about speaking in public, you may want to write out your statement and then read it at the hearing.
Add your own experience
As a customer, you have unique information. You may want to give specific examples to support the issues you address. If other customers have already testified about the same issue, you may still mention it, to show it is affecting more than one person. If there are many speakers, the Hearing Officer may set a time limit for each witness.
Speak slowly and clearly
Your testimony is important. Make sure you are understood. There will be a stenographic record of each public hearing.
Send written statements
If you have a written statement or other papers that you want to give to the Hearing Officer as evidence, please email them to WaterRateBoard@phila.gov. You may also testify entirely in writing if you prefer.
Sometimes one of the participants in the rate proceeding may want to ask you a question about your testimony. Listen carefully to the question and answer it the best you can. It is okay if you do not know the answer.
Assistance from the Public Advocate
The Rate Board has selected Community Legal Services to serve as Public Advocate in this proceeding, to help ensure that the Rate Board fully understands the concerns and interests of smaller customers, both residents, and businesses. An attorney from the Public Advocate will attend all public hearings.