A rate plan that would deliver double-digit increases for Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority customers next year is drawing early scrutiny, including from a retired state official.

“Residential ratepayers are experiencing rate shock on this proposal,” said former state Sen. Jim Ferlo of Highland Park, who filed several concerns with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ahead of four public hearings this week.

Mr. Ferlo questioned a gap between the proposed rate increase for residential customers — about 17 percent — and the roughly 10 percent hike sought for educational and health care organizations, such as UPMC. The nonprofit health care provider doesn’t “pay property taxes on a very large amount of land, [so] why not take that in consideration” when setting water rates? he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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