BRYN MAWR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The North Carolina Supreme Court last week upheld the North Carolina Utilities Commission’s (NCUC) use of a water and wastewater system improvement charge (WSIC) that enables utilities to accelerate distribution and treatment improvements for customers. The state enacted the law that created the surcharge in 2013.
“The court’s decision is great news for customers of regulated water and wastewater utilities throughout North Carolina,” said Aqua America President and CEO Christopher Franklin. “The ruling enables Aqua and other water companies to continue to accelerate much-needed capital spending to improve quality and service for our customers, and the state provides rigorous oversight and approvals for every project.”
The rate mechanism is hailed as a best practice by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and can lengthen the amount of time between utility base rate increases while enabling a utility to recover capital costs in a timely way through a bill surcharge. This approach is in use in more than a dozen states across the country. Projects funded through the North Carolina WSIC receive rigorous regulatory oversight by the NCUC and the Public Staff.
Aqua is using the WSIC in North Carolina to accelerate filter projects to address customer dissatisfaction with discolored water caused by naturally occurring iron and manganese in the groundwater. Each request for approval of a capital project under the WSIC requires at least the same level of scrutiny as a base rate case, and every project is available for review in the next base rate case.
Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly traded water utilities and serves nearly 3 million people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. Aqua provides water and wastewater service to more than 250,000 people in 51 counties throughout North Carolina. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information.