PUC Approves Substantially Lower Than Requested Rate Increases for Aqua Pennsylvania and Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater
Published on 5/16/2022
Filed under: Water and Wastewater
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has approved substantially lower than requested increases in rates for water and wastewater services provided by Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. (Aqua Water) and Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater Inc. (Aqua Wastewater).
The Commission voted 3-0 on May 12, 2022, to approve an increase in annual revenue of approximately $50.510 million (9.88%) for Aqua’s water service and an increase in annual revenue of approximately $18.741 million (50.55%) for wastewater service – which is approximately 30% lower than what was originally requested. Aqua Water and Aqua Wastewater are permitted to file tariffs, tariff supplements and/or tariff revisions, compliant with the terms of the Order, to become effective for service rendered on and after May 19, 2022.
Prior to the PUC’s final vote, Commissioners voted 2-1 in support of a motion from Commissioner Ralph V. Yanora to address the management performance adjustment claimed by Aqua and litigated by the parties. The motion to support the adjustment is based on record evidence of the company’s handling of three emergency receiverships – noting that Aqua acted quickly at the request of the Commission and public advocates to help safeguard vital utility service for hundreds of Pennsylvania utility customers whose continued utility service was jeopardized by failing small utility systems. Based on these actions, the motion provided a management performance adjustment of 25 basis points to the company’s Return on Equity (ROE), for a total ROE of 10.00%.
Additionally, through its Opinion and Order, the Commission approves Aqua Pennsylvania’s universal service plan and universal service rider proposed in its filings, makes recommendations regarding pressure valve inspections and fire hydrants, and approves Aqua’s proposal for continued deferral of COVID-19 uncollectible expenses.
The revenue increases approved by the PUC are considerably lower than the $97.684 million annual revenue increase that was originally proposed in the initial Aug. 20, 2021 filing by Aqua – which had sought to increase Aqua Water’s annual operating revenues by approximately $86.118 million (16.9%), along with a corresponding annual revenue increase of $11.566 million (31.2%) for Aqua Wastewater.
Aqua Water provides water service to approximately 434,264 customers in portions of more than 200 municipalities throughout 32 Pennsylvania counties. Aqua Wastewater provides wastewater service to approximately 40,284 customers in portions of more than 40 municipalities throughout 15 Pennsylvania counties. Collectively, the two companies serve nearly 1.5 million people throughout the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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