BCWSA Monthly Service Charge

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My name is Chrisha Kirk, and I have started this petition in hopes of gaining support for the implementation and support of legislation which would propose to place municipal water and sewer authorities under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC). I understand that there was a bill, House Bill #798, but that it was rejected. However, this issue needs to be re-examined. Specifically, Bucks County Water and Sewer (BCWSA) needs to be held accountable for their unethical practices.

Having recently moved to Langhorne from Levittown, Pennsylvania, our water and sewer provider changed. While in Levittown, we had Lower Bucks Joint Municipal, and during the 8 years of our residency, our bill averaged about $90 quarterly, working out to about $360 yearly.

In Langhorne, we have Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority, and the two water bills we’ve paid already total $163.78. At this rate, we will have to pay an estimated $982.68 yearly, which is nearly 3 times as much as we used to pay when we lived 10 minutes down the road.

Upon calling BCWSA directly and expressing these same concerns, sure that there must’ve been some mistake with our bill, my husband was met with the response, “I understand what you’re saying; however, that’s kind of just the way it is.”

We learned that all BCWSA customers are charged a monthly “service charge” for both water and sewer, on top of actual usage. The following information is taken directly from their website:

  • Minimum Charge. This is the minimum charge, irrespective of usage, that everyone pays to cover debt payments on the money borrowed and spent on existing facilities and infrastructure upgrades.
  • Usage Charge. The usage charge measures the amount of water consumed and/or sewer treated and it covers the costs of conveying the sanitary sewer and/or providing the water to a property. It also covers the cost of maintenance and operation of the water and sewer systems.

While I understand that a “service charge” may be necessary, it should be slight; it’s ludicrous for it to be more than the actual usage. The water service charge is $25 a month, and our actual usage was only $17.39; the sewer service charge is $22.45, and our actual usage was $20.65. We are now being compelled to pay $47.45 a month for “service charges”, when customers of neighboring companies, such as Lower Bucks Joint Municipal, are not.

This is downright unethical.

Furthermore, I don’t understand how this is even legal and not considered price gouging. First, I don’t feel it is my responsibility to pay additional money for their “debt payments” and “infrastructure upgrades.” They’re a business; if they want to own a business, that’s their responsibility and should not fall on the shoulders of their customers, especially when other companies don’t do it. Second, I and the other customers of BCWSA are forced to pay this charge and there isn’t anything we can do about it; we cannot “shop around” for the best rate on a water and sewer provider; whoever services our area is who we are required to use. Water and sewer service is not some expendable luxury; it’s a necessity, and the customers are being taken advantage of. 

As though all of this is not disconcerting enough: some weeks ago, we received a notice in the mail from BCWSA that said (and I’m paraphrasing): “Hey, no cause for alarm, everything is fine. However, our water tested high for levels of (whatever it was), so if you drink a lot of it, it may cause cancer. Sorry about that. But seriously, it’s fine. Keep on drinking it.” I was so appalled by this I threw it right in the trash, but you understand my frustration and point.

I respectfully request you sign this petition and help ensure that our local representatives do all they can to resolve this issue. We are a hard-working family with two small children, desperately longing to be able to provide every opportunity we can for them. This is increasingly difficult when a company’s unnecessary greed is infringing upon that. Perhaps the right thing to do would have service charge cover everything the customer uses up to that amount and then pay extra for everything else used beyond that amount; that I could get on board with.

But to charge a family nearly $50 a month simply because you can and because you know they have no other choice? I have to ask: where’s the morality in that? 

I truly appreciate your time and support for this cause. Even if your provider doesn't currently have a service charge: if there are no regulations placed on these companies, it may only be a matter of time. 

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