Officials with AARP say West Virginia American Water's proposed 20 percent rate increase will hurt 250,000 families in the state. The organization launched a drive to petition the Public Service Commission to rule against the hike.
The company says the increase will add $8.13 a month, on average, to the bills of customers. The AARP says the hike will average $10.49 a month.
Either way, the increase is not small.
The PSC will hold public hearings around the state on the proposal. Undoubtedly, many people will raise their voices in anger against the increase.
Nobody likes rate increases.
But while the law may require public hearings, PSC members and their staff should do every bit as careful a job of looking at how this money would be spent.
The company would like to recoup the $85 million it spent on the rehabilitation of storage tanks and upgrading water lines, booster stations and water treatment facilities since 2009.
The infrastructure is aging and needs repair, water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan told the Daily Mail's Zack Harold.
"It's a national phenomenon," Jordan said. "It's something every water system in the United States is experiencing."
West Virginians want clean water - and they want it everywhere, no matter how far off the beaten path a place may be. That costs money.
Yes, the rate increase will adversely impact the wallets of the 580,000 people in the state who are served by West Virginia American Water.
But inferior water service carries an enormous price that West Virginians, frankly, are too smart to pay. Most AARP members in this state have lived long enough to know that you get what you pay for.