(The WV Public Service Commission has ruled that the City of Chester has followed the proper procedure and met every requirement necessary to enact a water rate increase. The following letter was sent to Mayor Ed Wedgewood confirming the necessary criteria had been met.)

    Mayor Ed Wedgewood
    Chester Municipal Water Department
    600 Indiana Avenue
    Chester, WV 26034
    RE: ORDW Chester 24A
    City of Chester – 2024 Water Rate Ordinance
    Mr. Wedgewood:
    The City of Chester (“City”) rate ordinance, adopted on February 5, 2024,
    and filed with the Public Service Commission (“Commission”) on May 13, 2024,
    was referred to the Legal Division for review. The City readopted the ordinance by
    resolution on May 6, 2024, for the purpose of extending the effective date to allow
    for sufficient post-adoption notice. The City proposed that the rates would become
    effective 45 days after final passage.
    This review was limited to compliance with the process to adopt the new rate
    schedules. At this stage, the Legal Division does not determine whether the tariff
    provisions conflict with the Commission’s Rules for the Construction and Filing of
    Tariffs (“Tariff Rules”). A violation of these rules may be addressed by the Legal
    Division in a separate proceeding (such as a complaint proceeding).
    At this point, it appears the City has substantially complied with the process
    to adopt the ordinance, as provided in Tariff Rules 23.1.7 and 23.2.1 .d (1 50 CSR
    2-23) and W. Va. Code g8-11-4. Specifically:

    1. The City provided evidence the ordinance was read two times;
    2. The City reported the number of customers it serves and explained the
    3. The City reported that it does not have any wholesale customers;
    4. The City provided a Proof of Publication as evidence that pre-adoption
      notice was provided in the Weirfon Daily Times on January 31, 2024;
      financial justification for the rate increase;
      ORDW Chester 24A
      June 11,2024
      Page 2
    5. The publication contained the requisite language regarding the date, time,
      and place of the final vote on adoption, along with an invitation for
      customers to appear and speak on the subject matter; and
    6. The City provided evidence that it mailed pre-adoption notice of the rate
      change to its customers.
      At this time, it also appears that the City has substantially complied with the
      post-enactment procedures required by Tariff Rule 150-2-23.1.4 and W. Va. Code
      s24-2-4b. Specifically:
    7. The City provided an Affidavit of Publication as evidence that it published
      Tariff Form No. 12 in the Weirfon Daily Times on May 7 and 14, 2024;
    8. The City submitted an Affidavit as evidence that notice was properly
      posted where the utility conducts its business.
    9. The City also submitted evidence that it provided post-adoption bill notice
      to its customers alerting them of the deadline to file a protest with the PSC.
      The City proposed that the rates would become effective 45 days after final
      passage. To my knowledge, no protests have been received during the thirty-day
      period following adoption of the ordinance. Therefore, by copy of this letter, I am
      advising the Office of the Executive Secretary to accept the City’s rate ordinance
      for filing.
      Please take note that W. Va. Code §24-2-4b(b) allows a municipality to
      include in its rates a “reasonable plant in-service depreciation expense.” W. Va.
      Code 24-1 -I(k) requires a cash working capital fund in an amount no less than oneeighth of actual annual operation and maintenance expense. If this requirement
      has not been met through rates or existing funds, it should be done in the future.
      Since re1 y ,
      Staff Attorney (WV Bar #I 1802)