If you are a Virginia American Water (VAW) customer you received in this month’s bill, a notice that VAW has filed for a general increase in rates with the State Corporation Commission. Do not be alarmed. By my analysis, we in Cabin Point and Glebe Harbor should realize a decrease in our monthly rates. Currently, 3000 gallons costs $45. Under this new rate increase, 3000 gallons will cost $37.31, a decrease of $7.59.
The reason for this dates back some four to five years, when the two civic associations joined other entities in the VAW Eastern District in opposing the continual water rate increases that had plagued us for decades. Our case was argued before a special committee of the General Assembly following a meeting called by County Administrator Risavi that included Senator Stuart and Delegate Ransone.
Our district was absorbing rate increases well beyond the rates in higher populated density areas such as Alexandria, Prince William and Hopewell. This was due to the economy of scale – clearly, higher populated areas used and thus bought more water than our thinly populated region. This was discussed at the Risavi meeting and ultimately resulted in legislation that required VAW to equalize rates among the districts.
This was not something that could be implemented immediately due to the expected strong opposition of the high-density areas. Thus, VAW has undertaken a gradual implementation in order to avoid sudden significant changes that would inflame opponents and probably result in legal challenges. You will therefore note the language in VAW’s notice that accompanied your bill: “….the Company is proposing consolidated tariff pricing in its Application for its water service rates to make the second step toward a consolidated statewide single tariff consolidated rate structure….”.
This issue is a classic example how the paying members of the two civic associations have funded the legal actions that benefit the entire Glebe Harbor/Cabin Point communities. So those owners and residents that do not join the associations get a free ride for community benefits. Neither civic association realizes even a 50% membership rate among the owners/residents. Think about that.
Marion Dongieux, Cabin Point Civic Association President