State Del. Charles A. Blumenthal (D-Prince George's) has asked the Maryland Public Service Commission to look into the recent rate increase imposed by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
In a letter sent to the commission last week, Blumenthal said the increase "is exorbitant and is far beyond that which is necessitated by the latest budget increase" and asked the commission to "determine the reasonableness of these increases."
On July 1, the WSSC instituted a 23 percent increase in water rates and a 9 percent increase in sewer rates. Blumenthal said the "new charges are overrated and are discriminatory in nature."
According to the Public Service Commission, this is the fourth rate increase Blumenthal has appealed since 1975. The three previous rate changes were found reasonable by the commission.
PSC Executive Director Frank Wasowicz said he would bring Blumenthal's request "up to the commission at a staff meeting." He said it would then be "imperative that the commission have hearings," which Blumenthal requested be held in either Prince George's or Montgomery county.
Nancy Merritt, attorney in the PSC examiners' office said the "only thing the PSC could do (about the WSSC rate increase) is to rule whether or not the rates are reasonable. We cannot make them change their rates if we find them unreasonable. If the WSSC makes no change after an adverse ruling by us, (Blumenthal's) only recourse is the courts."
Merritt said the commission does not yet know how soon hearings could be scheduled to look into the Blumenthal charge.