CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and the Charleston City Council are asking the West Virginia Public Service Commission to block a gas or water rate increase after the West Side natural gas outage left more than 1,000 without services.

As gas and water restoration efforts continue on Charleston’s West Side, the West Virginia Public Service Commission had already been considering gas and water rate increases, even before the crisis happened.

West Virginia American Water and Mountaineer Gas had submitted the rate hike requests months ago, but city councilors, along with the mayor, say the recent outage needs to be fully investigated and any rate increase needs to be put off until April or even later. They say it may be a coincidence, but the timing just isn’t right.

“We have people still without heat. We still have folks without hot water. This is more than just a small disruption to their lifestyle,” said Mayor Amy Goodwin, City of Charleston.

“This to me it seems like insult to injury to pile on a rate increase right as people are finally, hopefully recovering from this crisis that we’ve had,” said Councilmember Emmett Pepper, City of Charleston.

13 News has reached out to West Virginia American Water and Mountaineer Gas for reaction to the city council’s vote, but we have not yet received a response.

Now, Councilmember Pepper has some advice for people now using electricity instead of natural gas to heat their homes. He says to contact the electric company and request “average monthly billing,” to avoid seeing a big spike in your electric bill.