Chelsea IrizarryAug 9, 2018, 10:56 pmAug 10, 2018, 4:21 pm

Customers confront New York American Water over rate hikes

The private company says the increase is due to new conservation rates that were approved in 2017

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EAST ROCKAWAY — Long Islanders packed into the East Rockaway Gymnasium Thursday evening to demand answers for sky-high water bill costs.

The private company recently came under fire for a rate hike in customers’ bills. The backlash sparked a response from many local and state officials.

New York American Water's deputy CEO, William Varley, said they launched an internal investigation to see why bills were so high.

"We are going to have field crews visit their homes, check their meters,” he said.

The preliminary investigation points to new conservation rates that were approved in 2017. According to the conservation rate structure, the water per gallon increases as customers consume more water. But many felt blindsided by the hefty increase.

The primary investigation also points to high rates of water usage, which usually occurs in the summer.

Thursday evening's public forum served as an opportunity for American Water and the Public Service Commission to hear from residents as well as educate residents on the new conservation rates and ways to conserve water to avoid hefty bills.

Regardless, Varley said American Water is continuing to work their internal review and are evaluating each individual complaint.

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