$1.1 million in infrastructure rehabilitation drives needed
Middlesex Water Co., a provider of water and wastewater and related services primarily in New Jersey and Delaware, filed a request with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) for a general increase in water rates for its Middlesex system in New Jersey. The 116-year-old utility is requesting a rate adjustment of approximately 15.89%, or $10.6 million over current revenues, to recover costs for repairs and updates to its drinking water infrastructure and to cover costs of increases in chemicals, fuel, electricity, technology, taxes, labor, benefits and other operating and maintenance expenses. Middlesex Water operates and maintains more than 740 miles of water main, including water production and storage facilities in eastern Middlesex County, N.J.
If the rate increase request is approved in its entirety, the average residential customer using 19,500 gal of water per quarter would see their bill increase by $26.70 per quarter, or less than 30 cents a day.
"While we prefer not to file for a rate adjustment, we need to continue to invest and maintain our aging drinking water infrastructure to ensure the public health, public safety, quality of life and economic value that's made possible by a clean, safe and plentiful water supply," said Dennis W. Doll, Middlesex Water president and CEO.
"As federal and state standards for drinking water quality grow more stringent, and the overall needs of our customers for service and reliability grow more complex, we need to maintain compliance with regulations, ensure the operational efficiency of our critical facilities while managing costs related to providing this vital and essential service," Doll said. "Prudent and necessary system improvements, which amount to over $11 million since our last rate request in January 2012, along with increases in certain operating costs, are the main factors driving the need for this rate increase request.”
Upon filing of this rate increase request, the proposal will next be reviewed, analyzed and investigated by the BPU and various other government entities. The thorough process includes a public hearing on this matter, which will be held in the company's service area before a decision is made.
Middlesex Water Co. presently serves 60,000 retail customers in the townships of Woodbridge, Edison, the borough of South Plainfield, Carteret, Metuchen, the cCity of South Amboy, and the township of Clark. The company also provides service under contract to the borough of Highland Park, the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority, the township of Marlboro, the city of Rahway and the township of East Brunswick. The increase will affect only the retail and contract customers listed above.