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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

You'll soon be paying more for water in Northern Kentucky


Northern Kentucky Water filed its application for the increase in October 2018, seeking an increase of $6.2 million in annual revenue. In addition to debt service, Northern Kentucky Water said the added income is necessary due to higher operational costs and higher fixed costs relative to revenue from water sales.

Northern Kentucky Water serves about 82,900 customers in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties and is a wholesale water provider to Bullock Pen and Pendleton County water districts and to the city of Walton. Its most recent rate increase was granted in January 2016 and implemented in two phases a year apart.

The current increase will raise the monthly residential customer fee from $16.40 to $18.50 in total, and the water consumption charge per 100 cubic feet from $4.53 to $4.77 in total.

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The PSC also approved a request by Northern Kentucky water to add a fee for customers who pay their bills by credit or debit card, as long as the fee is equal to the amount charged to the district by the credit or debit card processor.

Customers will be notified of the fee as they pay their bill and will have the option to cancel the transaction if they wish to avoid the fee.

Northern Kentucky Water withdrew other requests it had made for changes to its customer service rules. Those will be addressed in a separate case.

There were no other parties to the proceeding. After the PSC conducted extensive written discovery in the case, it was determined that no hearing was needed. However, the PSC conducted a public information and comment meeting in the case on January 24 in the city of Edgewood, which is in Northern Kentucky Water’s service territory.

Tuesday’s order, a video recording of the public meeting, and other records in the case are available on the PSC website. The case number is 2018-00291.

The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,100 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky.

The $19.6 million will replace the principal owed on a short term loan issued in 2017, according to the PCS order. The short term loan helped pay for the following projects identified in 2014, according to filings with the PSC.

- Repairs were made to the Fort Thomas Treatment Plant basin including replacing and modifying filtration systems.

- The more than 80-year-old Lumley Water Tank in Fort Thomas behind the city building was replaced for about $2 million. The 275,000-gallon storage tank was removed. A 400,000-gallon tank was erected. The project cost included water main replacements in Edgewood (on five streets), in Newport (seven streets) in Woodlawn (six streets) and on Burdsall Avenue in Fort Mitchell.

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- More than two miles of water main line (ranging from two inches to four inches) was replaced with larger lines (ranging from six to eight inches) around the southern Kenton County city of Latonia Lakes.
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- The 1872-built Ohio River pump station 2 in Campbell County was repaired at a cost of $2 million.

- A new Taylor Mill Water Treatment Plant for about $20 million. 

- A 24-inch hydraulic line was built to improve water flows to the southern end of Kenton County along Ky. 17. Water flows were improved to a pump station near Richardson Road in anticipation of the need for capacity growth. Water flow was also improved to the industrial area around Ky. 17. 

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