TOMS RIVER – Suez Water has filed a plan with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for $237 million in infrastructure that would carry with it a 12% increase to water bills, if approved.
The plans are for more than 150 projects in 65 communities throughout New Jersey. Local ones are as follows:
- Water main upgrades: Berkeley, South Toms River, and Toms River
- Modernize control systems: The SCADA system in Toms River has been improved to provide secure, state-of-the-art monitoring of water operations within the service area.
- Asset management: Throughout New Jersey, a workforce management program for field service as well as transmission and delivery departments was initiated, allowing for asset management and efficient creation of work orders.
Some of these projects are already underway, having begun in 2018. The projects include the replacement of aging water mains, renewal of above-ground treatment and pumping facilities, facility upgrades, water tank refurbishments, SCADA improvements, asset management programs, projects to remove lead service lines and enhancement of environmental, health, safety and security measures along with digital innovations to improve customer experience.
“These extensive upgrades in water infrastructure will have long-lasting impacts,” said Alan Weland, Vice President and General Manager of SUEZ’ Northern New Jersey Operations. “They not only have brought enhanced water quality and service to our customers, but have helped sustain jobs and kept the economy churning, even in the midst of a pandemic.”
The projects would be paid for by a proposed 12% increase. This has to be approved by the BPU. It would raise the average homeowner’s bill about $87 a year.
Those who have difficulty paying their water bill due to the COVID-19 health crisis can discuss payment plans or financial assistance at suezcares.org or 888-668-0856.
“SUEZ is committed to building sustainable and reliable water systems across the nation,” said Charles Dickerson, President of SUEZ North America’s Utility Division. “We are sensitive to the financial pressures facing many of our customers at this time. That is why we have been careful to bring projects that not only create long-term resiliency but are also an exceptional value. We are deeply committed to protecting our water system and keeping our service reliable and affordable.”
The New Jersey Economic Advisory Council’s Report highlights the vital role that infrastructure plays in economic recovery efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report lists infrastructure investment as the number one recommendation for the state’s economic recovery.
“Our investment plan directly helps New Jersey workers and families as they face uncertainties during this period,” Weland said. “The projects we have outlined also enhance access to a critical clean and safe supply of water, which is so important during the COVID-19 pandemic.”