A 58 Percent Water Rate Increase In Sheffield, Mass., Is Up For A Public Hearing

Jan 1, 2018

The owners of the Sheffield, Massachusetts, water system are looking to increase rates by 58 percent. And that will be the subject of a public hearing Wednesday, Jan. 3 in the Berkshire County town.

State Attorney General Maura Healey's office and Massachusetts utility regulators have both filed paperwork saying they plan to look into the steep hike.

Mountain Water Systems bought Sheffield's water operation last year.

Company president Sheryl Fairchild said they can't account for about a quarter of the water pumped into the old, leaky system. She said expensive work is needed to replace water mains and meters.

"It's a balancing act to make sure that we are providing that water at really the true cost of what it costs to deliver that water," Fairchild said.

Documents filed by Mountain Water with the state show Sheffield's water rates last went up in 2010.

If this latest increase is approved, the roughly 500 customers would pay on average an extra $320 a year.