HOWELL – Customers of New Jersey American Water (NJAW) might be seeing changes to their rates after the company filed a petition to the Board of Public Utilities to propose rate increases.
The petition, filed on Sept. 15, 2017, proposed new rates, “seeking recovery of the significant investment the company has made into its water and wastewater infrastructure since its last rate adjustment in 2015,” according to the Sept. 15, 2017 press release by NJAW.
The petition proposed that these increased rates would increase their annual revenue by 129.3 million or 17.54 percent, according to the press release.
This additional revenue is meant to help the company make additional investments to its infrastructure in order to upgrade is services and provide better and more reliable service to its customers.
“According to the latest report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers earlier this year, the nation’s water infrastructure was graded a ‘D’ and the wastewater infrastructure was graded a ‘D plus’,” said Robert G. MacLean, president of NJAW in the release. “As the provider of water and/or wastewater services to nearly one in three people in the state, New Jersey American Water is committed to making needed investments to proactively upgrade infrastructure to ensure reliable service.”
Some of the investments NJAW plans to make – if rate increases are approved – are:
- The expansion of the Oak Glen Water Treatment Facility.
- A flood protection project at the Raritan Millstone Water Treatment Facility.
- Construction of an iron removal facility in Toms River.
- Iron removal upgrades to other systems.
- Replacement of several aging diameter transmission mains in the coastal region.
- Conversion from chlorine gas to an on-site sodium hypochlorite generation system at the Delaware River Regional Water Treatment Plant.
- Needed system improvements to the Jumping Brook, Swimming River, Delaware River, Canoe Brook and Raritan Millstone Water Treatment Plants.
- Replacement or upgrades to dozens of wells, pumping stations and other critical facilities.
- Sewer system upgrades.
Opposed to this petition is Howell’s Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro. “I have requested a resolution, that will be added to Council’s Jan. 2 meeting, opposing NJAW’s most recent request for a rate adjustment,” Nicastro said prior to the meeting.
Nicastro noted that NJAW must consider the high rates currently being paid by customers in Howell, alongside rate increases that have been granted in the past. “The current application by NJAW is unfair, unjust and unreasonable,” said Nicastro.
The NJAW release noted that “the water bill for the average residential customer using 6,000 gallons of water a month would increase approximately 36 cents per day. The average residential wastewater bill would increase approximately 20 cents per day.”
The percentage increases that customers will see with regard to their rate changes will vary depending on the customer class. This information can be found in the chart accessible at newjerseyamwater.com.
A public hearing about the approval of this petition will be held on January 10 at 6 p.m. at the Howell Township Municipal Building. Here, residents and council members have the opportunity to put forth comments and concerns about the petition before approval is certain. The public is permitted to send letters to the Board regarding this petition as well.