Thursday, March 2, 2017

PUC Settlement Allows York Water To Replace Lead Service Lines

The Public Utility Commission Thursday expedited approval of a joint settlement with York Water Company for the immediate replacement of both company-owned and customer-owned lead service lines, with the total line replacement done at the same time and solely at the company’s cost.
The Commission voted 5-0 to grant York Water a temporary, limited two-phase waiver of its tariff that currently does not allow the company to bear the costs associated with the replacement of customer-owned lead lines.  
The Commission’s waiver allows York Water to bear these replacement costs of customer-owned lead services lines and begin the line replacement work immediately, consistent with a Consent Order and Agreement previously entered into by York Water and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“The efficiency of this approach minimizes total costs, thereby providing better service to York Water customers, particularly to those who might find the total cost of replacing customer-owned lines to be burdensome or too expensive a task to undertake independently,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown in a motion supporting expedited approval of the joint settlement.
The settlement permits York Water to replace customer-owned lead lines at its initial expense, and then record the associated costs as a regulatory asset to be recovered in future base rate proceedings.  
Other parties involved in the settlement were the Commission’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement and the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate.
In a statement, Commissioner Robert F. Powelson voiced his support for the settlement, and underscored the critical nature of this issue.
“The importance of ensuring safe drinking water for all Pennsylvanians cannot be overstated,” Commissioner Powelson said. “However, in this post-Flint, Michigan world, it is not something we can take for granted.  I commend York Water for recognizing this, for taking the issue seriously, and for acting quickly to resolve it.  I encourage other utilities to do the same should they be faced with a similar issue.”
In the motion approved by the Commission, Chairman Brown further noted that the Commission has granted tariff waivers in very limited circumstances, and therefore the Commission is directing York Water to file a supplemental tariff reflecting the terms of the settlement within seven days of entry of the Order.
The filing of the supplemental tariff will not delay the start of replacement work by the company.
The first phase is a four-year waiver involving the replacement of lead customer-owned service lines that are discovered when York Water replaces approximately 1,660 lead company-owned service lines that exist in the company’s system, at the company’s initial cost.  
The second phase is a nine year waiver involving the annual replacement of up to 400 lead customer-owned service lines whenever they are discovered, regardless of the material used for the company-owned service line.
York Water serves more than 66,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in 48 communities in York and Adams counties.
For more information on lead in water, visit DEP’s Lead In Drinking Water webpage.
PUC Settlement Allows York Water To Replace Lead Service Lines
Related Story:
Sen. Yudichak Calls For Task Force To Investigate Threat Of Lead Exposure In PA

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