PORT RICHEY — Customers of Aqua Utilities can expect to see higher bills, with the Public Service Commission's approval this week of temporary rate increases.
The new rates affect residents in Jasmine Lakes, Palm Terrace and Zephyr Shores.
Regulators continue to hold customer service meetings, including one next month in New Port Richey, on whether to approve Aqua's requested final rates, which are even higher than the temporary ones approved Tuesday. The hearing on the final rate requests has not been set.
On an interim basis, Jasmine Lakes customers in Port Richey who use about 5,000 gallons of water a month will see their wastewater bill go from $24.61 to $44.92. But their water bills will drop from $25.20 to $14.23, according to PSC estimates.
Both water and wastewater bills will go up for Palm Terrace customers in Port Richey and Zephyr Shores customers in Zephyrhills. In Palm Terrace, that means typical monthly water bills for customers who use 5,000 gallons go from $25.38 to $33.88, and wastewater bills go from $39.95 to $75.80.
Customers in Zephyr Shores who use 5,000 gallons will see their water bills rise from $31.45 to $33.46 and their wastewater bills jump from $59.09 to $88.89.
Aqua Utilities, which covers a 16-county area, asked in May for rate increases worth $4.5-million for its water systems and $3.8-million for its wastewater systems. The utility says the hikes are necessary to earn a fair rate of return on its investments.
A hearing on the final rates will be held at 4 p.m. Aug. 22 at the West Pasco Government Center on Little Road.