American Water’s ‘conservation rate’ sends water bills soaring

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EAST ROCKAWAY -

New York American Water, which serves a good portion of Nassau County's South Shore residents, says a sudden jump in water bills is the result of what they call a “conservation rate.”

The rate hike went into effect in April – just in time for the increase in summer water usage. The utility says the more water a customer uses, the more expensive each gallon will become.

The company says the hike is to encourage customers to limit their water usage.

“Conservation is the message here,” says Bill Varley, of American Water. “The rates are trying to change the behavior, so in the summertime – instead of watering your lawn every day, go every other day.”

The company is being criticized for not being transparent enough about the rate hike.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says he has received over 400 complaints to his office.

“If you tell people that is the case, they will take appropriate action, but people had no idea,” says Sen. Kaminsky. “I'm interested in getting down to the bottom of who knew what, when and whether enough notice was given.”

American Water says they are addressing customers complaints and promise to ramp up their communications.

A public hearing on the conservation rate will be held Thursday at East Rockaway High School starting at 7 p.m. Residents will be able to ask questions about their water bills.

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