The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted to approve a lower rate increase request than requested by Aqua Pennsylvania (Aqua).

The Commission voted 5-0 to approve a settlement for an annual increase in rates of $16.7 million (4.1 percent).

Aqua Pennsylvania serves customers in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties.

The settlement was reached among Aqua, the Commission's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the state's Office of Consumer Advocate and the Aqua Large Users Group.

The company had originally requested an increase in rates of annual revenues of $38.6 million (9.4 percent). Five public input hearings were held within Aqua's service territory.

As part of the approval, the average residential customer residing in the Main Division using 4,745 gallons per month would see a monthly increase of $1.99 from $52.86 to $54.85.

Under the company's proposal, the average residential customer residing in the Main Division using 4,000 gallons per month would have experienced a monthly increase of $5.08 from $52.86 to $57.94.

Aqua PA presently serves over 404,000 customers in portions of 27 counties.