The Maine Public Utilities Commission has approved a rate increase for customers in the Biddeford and Saco division of Maine Water Co.

The district includes Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Scarborough. This is the first time rates have been raised in the district in seven years.

The need for a $1.3 million increase in revenue stems from increased operating costs and upgrades to the water system that cost nearly $8 million. The PUC approved the increase on March 13.

The typical residential water bill for a customer that uses 125 gallons of water a day will increase $1.55 per month in the first three years, then $2.29 per month in the fourth year. Company officials say water rates in the Biddeford and Saco division continue to be among the lowest in the state, with the average customer paying less than 50 cents a day. The average water rate in Maine is $1 a day.

“This increase is the result of a our commitment to invest and upgrade the water system since we believe a safe and reliable water system is a core component of public health, fire protection and the economic vitality of the area,” Judy Wallingford, president of Maine Water, said in a prepared statement. “While no one likes rate increases, this modest increase will ensure we can maintain our strong focus on water quality and customer service, and to continue to invest in future infrastructure projects to meet the needs of the families and communities we serve.”