Milford Water Co. to Seek 90 Percent Rate Increase

The Milford Water Co. has revised its expected rate increase request. The utility is expected to seek a hike of about 90 percent, the largest in its history.

The Milford Water Co. will ask state regulators to allow it to nearly double the water rate: as much as a 90 percent increase.

The private utility informed Milford town leaders of the anticipated rate request Wednesday. The filing with the state Department of Public Utilities is expected by Monday.

The town is expected to intervene in the request, said Town Counsel Gerry Moody. "I don't feel they're entitled to it," he said Thursday.

The rate hike request is based on the value of the new water treatment facility under construction on Dilla Street. The facility is now expected to be completed at a cost of about $25 million, said Water Co. General Manager David Condrey.

Company officials met Thursday with Moody, and Town Administrator Louis Celozzi, to discuss the new figures. Earlier this year, the company had announced it planned to seek about a 50 percent increase.

To construct the new water plant, the company obtained aAt that time, the town challenged the size of the loan, noting that it would impact customers through the anticipated 50 percent rate increase.

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The approval process for a rate increase is lengthy, Moody said, and will include public hearings. The process could take up to a year.

"It's our duty to appear before the DPU, representing the rate payers, and ... [make sure] they only get what they're entitled to."

Condrey said the 90 pecent is "on the high side" of what the company expects to need, but disclosed that number with town officials Thursday to keep them informed. "That's the worst-case scenario."
"We're still finalizing the numbers."

The rate request would be, by far, the largest in the company's history, he said. Condrey said he expects customers will be upset, but noted that water consumption can be controlled.

If the rate hike is approved, Condrey said, the company doesn't plan to have it go into effect until late in 2013.

Mary MacDonald October 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM
To Tony's point: The company is a private utility. It's regulated by the DPU, not by the town. The town could take it over through an eminent domain process, but would have to pay for that. There's no such thing as a "taking" in that sense. The public hearing process will be a chance for people to tell the DPU what they think of this request.
Tony October 12, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Mary, Gerry Moody publicly stated that the town is looking for additional money to "fight" the increase. Selectmen Buckley stated publicy that the town is going to "vigorously" defend the ratepayer. The town manager has requested the approval of $35,00 to appeal the rate hike and hire expert witnesses to support the towns assertion that the hike is unwarranted. And the finance committee asked Mr Moody if it was possible for the town to take over the Water company. I stand by my earlier post and raise an eyebrown at the uninformed poster I posed a question to. Having said all that, the madder we get at the water co, and as the state forces mandates on them such as the new plant, what do we think is going to happen? All this will be free? Take over the water company, yeah that will work too, the work force will double, there will be a new union in town and our taxes and rates will go up further. We are bewteen a rock and a hard place. The company first asked for 50% and now 90% rate hike. I guess they think if they ask for 90 they will get 40, 50 or 60%. Just guessing! There should have been some oversight of the Water company the last 20 to 30 years. It seems there was none. They waited for disaster to strike while lining their pockets with profit, now when it's time to fix everything, they lay it on the rate payer by trying to double the rates.
Mary MacDonald October 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Tony, I'm not arguing with you. The statements you refer to up top were made at a Finance Committee meeting. I didn't go to it. That's why those statements aren't in my post. I think people can tell from the previous coverage that the town fought the loan; they thought the amount was excessive. And I've quoted Moody in my story saying he thinks the current proposal is undeserved.
unclkebuck October 12, 2012 at 12:37 PM
No problem, I'll just go into my boss and request a raise to pay for all these fee hikes happening everywhere. That's all......don't they understand that we're struggling?
Anonymous October 12, 2012 at 02:29 PM
They don't care that we're struggling


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