The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has approved a rate increase for residential and commercial customers of United Water Pennsylvania, which will provide the company with an additional $2.6 million in annual revenue. The increase was primarily related to water system improvements and inflationary impacts on overall operating expenses. The typical residential customer, using an average of 5,000 gallons of water per month, will see an average bill increase of $2.52 a month or approximately 8 cents per day.
There was no increase requested in the rate charged by the company for the provision of service related to public fire hydrants.
“We endeavor to keep water rates as low as possible, especially during difficult economic times, but we are not immune from cost pressures that all businesses face,” said John Hollenbach, vice president and general manager of United Water Pennsylvania. “We fully realize our responsibility to provide excellent water service in a cost-effective manner through utilization of cost efficiencies. The rates granted to the company by the PUC are still the lowest among the largest water utilities regulated by the PUC.”
$23 Million Invested Since 2006
The 9% rate increase provides funding for improvements already made to the company’s water supply system that include water quality, supply and reliability. Since last requesting cost recovery through a general rate increase in early 2006, United Water Pennsylvania had invested more than $23 million in capital and other projects designed to enhance its water system.
Examples of major capital projects installed by United Water Pennsylvania since its last rate case include three new water storage facilities at a cost of over $4 million. These new facilities will provide an additional 4.5 million gallons of water for fire protection and will ensure an adequate supply of water during daily peak demands and times when emergency outages occur. An investment of $1 million was also made to establish a new water supply source to ensure reliability. Other capital projects include the replacement of nearly 7 miles of water mains.
Water Service is a Great Value
The typical United Water Pennsylvania residential customer is paying about $1.20 for a full day’s worth of water - which is less than the cost of one gallon of bottled water. ”Water remains a bargain compared to other daily services,” said Hollenbach. “In fact, according to the United States Congressional Budget Office, combined water and sewer bills nationally average less than 1% of household expenditures. Monthly water utility bills are also substantially less than monthly cable television expenses.”
About United Water
United Water Pennsylvania provides water service to a population of approximately 166,000 people in portions of eight Pennsylvania Counties. Nationwide, United Water provides water and wastewater services to 7.3 million people in the United States. In addition to owning and operating 20 regulated utilities, United Water operates 240 municipal and industrial systems through public-private partnerships and contract agreements, including three of the nation's largest water and wastewater contracts. The company’s affiliate, Utility Service Company, is the nation’s leading provider of long-term water tank management contracts with municipal and industrial clients. Founded in 1869, United Water is a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT.
About SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT
Natural resources are not infinite. Each day, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT (Paris: SEV, Brussels: SEVB) and its subsidiaries deal with the challenge to protect resources by providing innovative solutions to industries and to millions of people. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT supplies drinking water to 90 million people, provides wastewater treatment services for 58 million people and collects the waste produced by 46 million people. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has 65,900 employees and, with its presence on a global scale, is the world’s leader exclusively dedicated to environmental services. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, a 35.4% GDF SUEZ affiliate, reported sales turnover of 12.3 billion Euros ($17.6 billion USD) at the end of financial year 2009.