PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia’s water commissioner has set new water, sewer and stormwater rates that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

Rates are slated to rise 17.5% over three years – significantly lower than the department’s original rates request of 28.5% over four years.

The decision was based on a settlement between the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) and Community Legal Services (CLS) — the public advocate appointed to represent residential customers — together with other parties in the rate case. The settlement addresses the PWD’s revenue requirements and allocation of costs among residential, commercial and industrial customers.

Water Commissioner Neukrug said the rate increase is due to a more aggressive focus on the renewal and replacement of PWD’s aging infrastructure system, and the increasing costs to operate and maintain a water, wastewater and stormwater utility committed to providing top quality, essential services.

Philadelphia Water Department rates are still among the lowest in the region despite the rate increase.

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