CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia American Water customers will pay a 5.98% surcharge on their monthly bills to help fund improvement projects.

On Friday, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia approved WV American Water’s request for its 2023 Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC).

The approved DSIC went into effect on Jan. 1 and includes $48.7 million in system-wide improvements for 2023.

WV American Water says the improvements are necessary after the state’s infrastructure recently received a “D” grade from a civil engineering group. Officials say the improvements will include:

  • $31 million to replace or upgrade over 16 miles of water mains;
  • $6.4 million to replace service lines and fire hydrants;
  • $9.3 million to replace water meters; and
  • $2 million for post-acquisition investment on troubled water systems.

The joint agreement was reached between WV American Water, PSC staff and its Consumer Advocate Division. WV American Water says all involved parties recognize the investment is a “significant priority in the best interest of customers.” Officials say the surcharge will also help the company perform faster cost recovery and advance certain programs.

“West Virginia’s infrastructure recently received a ‘D’ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers,” said Robert Burton, president of West Virginia American Water. “The purpose of a DSIC is to address the national challenge of aging water infrastructure by directing additional investment to areas where improvements are most needed.”

The 5.98% surcharge is equivalent to about $3.63 for the average residential customer, WV American Water says. The company also says most customers will see a prorated amount on their first bill in 2023, depending on meter readings and billing schedules.

WV American Water says it serves about 560,000 people. To learn more about the company, visit its website.