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Department of Public Utilities decision on Housatonic Water Works rate increases deferred until August

Great Barrington — A decision on Housatonic Water Works’s proposed rate increases by the Department of Public Utilities has been deferred until at least August 1. On March 11, Department […]

Great Barrington — A decision on Housatonic Water Works’s proposed rate increases by the Department of Public Utilities has been deferred until at least August 1.

On March 11, Department Chair James Van Nostrand, Commissioners Cecile Fraser, and Staci Rubin co-signed a memo that stated that “further investigation is necessary” before any decision is made.

In a separate document by Hearing Officer Kevin Crane issued on March 11, Crane wrote that the DPU has extended a deadline from February 29 to March 29 for a possible settlement between HWW and the towns involved in the rate case.

“The Department expects that any settlement will allow adequate time for review (i.e., a minimum of four months). Accordingly, on March 11, 2024, the Department issued an Order suspending the effective date of the Company’s rates until August 1.

Any future request to further extend the settlement filing date may require the Department to further suspend the Company’s proposed tariffs to ensure adequate time for review and deliberation, including the possibility of suspension beyond November 1.”

Back in late June, HWW filed an application with the Department of Public Utilities requesting a 112.7 percent overall revenue increase. The request reflects an $808,808 increase over the existing water rates.

This has led to protests by residents who attended a DPU hearing back in late September, along with town leaders in Great Barrington, Stockbridge, and West Stockbridge, who all spoke against the proposed increase to the DPU.

Meanwhile, the Selectboard held an executive session at its meeting on Wednesday, March 20 concerning HWW.

Back on December 12 at the Selectboard meeting, Selectboard Chair Bannon announced that the board has instructed Town Manager Mark Pruhenski to conduct “what we believe will be the final study in this process” in order to determine whether or not the town would acquire HWW.

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