A Louisiana Public Service Commission administrative law judge has set a hearing at 9:30 a.m. March 1 on a proposed rate increase for Ascension Water Co., a commission spokesman said.

The Baton Rouge Water Co. subsidiary that serves Ascension Parish is seeking commission backing for the increase.

During the hearing, commission staff and attorneys will deliver their assessment of the water company’s rate request, which seeks an average 18 percent increase.

The hearing, open to the public, will convene in the first floor Natchez Room, Galvez Building, 602 N. Fifth St., Baton Rouge.

The commission must meet in a subsequent hearing to render a final decision on the rate request.

Ascension Water serves unincorporated areas, such as Prairieville, and the town of Sorrento. The company has more than 23,600 customers.

Filed Aug. 17 with the commission, the rate request points to the cost of serving growing population and a 2006 franchise agreement with Ascension Parish government mandating fire hydrants in subdivisions that lack them.

Last week during a status conference, Chief Administrative Law Judge Valerie Seal Meiners and attorneys set the hearing and other scheduling dates, said Colby Cook, commission spokesman.

He said the commission would be receiving documents relating to the request from Ascension Water during coming weeks.

A commission “audit report and memorandum,” which will provide commission staff’s findings on the company’s rate request, is scheduled to be filed by Feb. 3, Cook said.

Ascension Water will have until Feb. 10 to respond.

Cook noted all the scheduled dates are subject to change.

The rate request filings can be found on the commission Web site through its “Document Access” portal: http://lpscstar.louisiana.gov/star/portal.aspx.

Look up docket number U-32053.