Thursday, May 3, 2018

PUC Highlights Drinking Water Week In PA, Touts Investments In Replacing Aging Facilities, Lead Lines

The Public Utility Commission Thursday joined elected officials, water utilities and community leaders in highlighting “Drinking Water Week” in the Commonwealth as part of an ongoing effort to increase awareness about the importance of water and water conservation.
“Water is far too valuable a resource to be taken for granted – after all, it is the only utility commodity that we physically ingest,” said Commissioner David W. Sweet. “From prudent ratemaking, to daily oversight, to working with utilities to strengthen water system viability, the Commission is continually taking an active role to ensure safe and reliable service.”
Commissioner Sweet noted that the strong emphasis of the Commission combined with the front-line work of water utilities has advanced an aggressive schedule for replacing aging water infrastructure, including lead-line replacement efforts in some water systems.
Tasked with regulating the rates and service of investor-owned water companies, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and the water service to extra-territorial customers of municipal systems, the PUC continues to encourage efforts to ensure that Pennsylvania’s water systems remain up-to-date.
“The PUC’s Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) mechanism has proven to be a valuable tool in accelerating the replacement of existing aging facilities,” Commissioner Sweet added. “Needed replacement projects that would be put on hold until a future base rate proceeding can now be jumpstarted by using a DSIC surcharge on customers’ bills to accelerate the replacement.”
Due to DSIC and other innovative regulatory mechanisms, the PUC previously has been recognized by Standard & Poor’s for effectively encouraging water company infrastructure investment.
DSIC also has been recognized nationally in a resolution by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, which endorsed it for its significance as a regulatory tool, and by the Council of State Governments, which included DSIC as model legislation.  
The House this week adopted House Resolution 839 (Carroll-D-Luzerne) designating May 6-12 Drinking Water Week in Pennsylvania sponsored by Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.  The Senate last week adopted a similar resolution-- Senate Resolution 355 (Yudichak-D-Luzerne) sponsored by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
For more information, visit the PUC’s DSIC webpage.
(Photo: PUC Commissioner David Sweet.)
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