Important Next Step in Delivering Ratepayer Relief
CHESTER, PA (June 15, 2020) – The Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA) announced today that Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater, Inc., has received conditional acceptance of its application to acquire the assets of DELCORA from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. This is the next step in the acquisition process and merging the operations of the two entities.
“This conditional acceptance is an important next step in the PUC approval process,” said Robert J. Willert, DELCORA Executive Director. “While the Delaware County Council continues to pursue strategies which will dramatically drive up ratepayers’ rates and raid the assets which belong to ratepayer, our plan allows for the mandated capital and maintenance improvements while keeping rates at a manageable 3% annual increase.”
The letter dated June 11 states, “The Commission writes to inform you that, upon review of the supplemental materials provided, it has conditionally accepted for filing the above-captioned application, as amended (Application).”
Background on Acquisition and Merger of Operations with Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater
On September 17, 2019 the DELCORA board of directors voted unanimously to approve the execution of an asset purchase agreement (APA) with Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater, Inc. and proceed with the proposed merger, pending Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approval. The purchase price is $276.5 million which will be used to pay off outstanding debt and reinvested in a DELCORA Ratepayer Trust Fund (Trust). The agreement comes after an exhaustive, consultative process which involved over 20 meetings with employees, municipal officials and the Delaware County Council as well as two public meetings with customers.
The acquisition and merger of operations is grounded in a Trust that would be used to offset customer bill increases. The Trust, announced at a public meeting on September 11, is expected to save an average retail customer $1,400 and will help to offset almost $1.2 billion in new and ongoing capital costs to meet soon to be enforced U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) regulations as well as DELCORA’s ongoing capital program.
DELCORA faces significant capital costs to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Combined Sewer Long-Term Control Plan in Philadelphia and in Chester. A recent consent decree mandates that municipal wastewater authorities take steps to manage combined sewer systems including building new or replacing existing infrastructure. Because these mandates are unfunded, municipal authorities typically must increase rates to pay for the new capital costs.
The acquisition and merger of operations is now being reviewed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
The Delaware County Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA) is a municipal authority with an almost 50-year history of successfully treating wastewater for approximately 197,000 customers in 42 municipalities in Delaware and Chester counties. DELCORA is involved in the treatment of approximately 100 million gallons of wastewater every day. It is an independent municipal authority overseen by a board of directors.