Consumer Protection Committee approves Matzie bills to add safeguards and protect ratepayers in municipal water/wastewater system sales

Would add notice requirements, impose purchase price ceiling

HARRISBURG, April 9 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee on Tuesday approved a package of bills introduced by Majority Chairman Rob Matzie that would add protections for ratepayers when private companies acquire municipal water and wastewater systems.

Matzie, D-Beaver, said the legislation is needed to ensure consumer interests remain front and center.

“When public works like municipal water and wastewater systems are sold to private companies, ratepayers can end up bearing the burden of inflated sales prices through increased rates,” Matzie said. “Our legislation would help prevent that by adding greater transparency to these transactions, ensuring that PUC has sufficient time to review proposed sales, and easing the burden on consumers by limiting the purchase price of healthy systems and spreading out any future rate increases.

“It’s inevitable that these sales are going to happen. When they do, we need the proper safeguards in place to ensure consumer interests remain a central part of the equation.”

The specific bills include:

  • H.B. 1862, which could impose enhanced notification requirements for private acquisitions of municipal water/wastewater systems.
  • H.B. 1863, which would give the PUC more time to evaluate proposed private acquisitions of municipal water/wastewater systems. 
  • H.B, 1864, which would ease the immediate impact on ratepayers resulting from private acquisitions of municipal water/wastewater systems.
  • H.B. 1865, which would impose a purchase price ceiling on private acquisitions of non-stressed municipal water/wastewater systems.

Matzie introduced the legislation together with state Reps. Lisa Borowski, Carol Kazeem, Leanne Krueger, and Jennifer O’Mara, all D-Delaware; Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery; and Christina Sappey, D-Chester.

The committee also voted to re-refer two unrelated bills to other House committees. House Bill 2143 – which would require age verification for access to pornographic websites – was re-referred to the Judiciary Committee, and H.B. 2149 – which would update transparency requirements of homeowner associations – was re-referred to the Housing and Community Development Committee.


ATTENTION EDITORS AND ASSIGNMENT DESKS: Video of the hearing is available here:

Matzie’s comments about the meeting are available here: