Krueger, Lawrence introduce bill to protect water system customers

CHESTER, Oct. 1 – At a news conference at Chester Water Authority headquarters, state Reps. Leanne Krueger and John Lawrence today discussed their bill to protect the customers of municipal and authority-owned water or wastewater systems in the acquisition process.

Krueger and Lawrence have introduced legislation, H.B. 1936, to amend Section 1329 of the Public Utilities Law to prohibit the sale of municipal water or wastewater systems to private companies using the valuation procedure outlined there unless the system is in financial and/or operational distress.

Earlier this year, Krueger and Lawrence hosted a bipartisan legislative hearing in Harrisburg to discuss that section of the law, particularly as it related to the Chester Water Authority, a financially stable utility being pursued by Aqua Pennsylvania for acquisition.

“It became clear during that hearing that sales through Section 1329 always drive up rates for customers,” said Krueger, D-Delaware. “To protect consumers, we should ensure these sales are limited to distressed systems – those that truly need outside help to meet financial or operational safety best practices.”

“Ratepayers bear the financial impact when a municipal water or sewer system is sold,” said Lawrence, R-Chester/Lancaster. “Rates have doubled or even tripled for some ratepayers, even when the system servicing their home is in good repair. This legislation addresses this issue and follows recommendations from the Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate to protect ratepayers.”  

House Bill 1936 has been referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee.