Pennichuck Water Works Inc.'s ("Pennichuck") primary goal is to provide exceptional service and delivery of quality water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We regularly evaluate the infrastructure of our systems to identify areas that require improvement. As part of Pennichuck's rate proceedings in 2010, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) granted approval for Pennichuck to implement a Water Infrastructure and Conservation Adjustment (WICA) surcharge allowing Pennichuck to bill the surcharge to recover the costs of replacing aging infrastructure. The PUC order can be viewed here.
WICA covers the replacement of water mains, valves and hydrants that have either reached the end of their useful life or are negatively impacting water quality or service reliability. The benefits of the program to our customers are that it provides funding for a consistent replacement of aging infrastructure, which in turn increases reliability of service. The program also provides smaller rate increases for customers by permitting the recovery of the expenses associated with the replacement of aging infrastructure between rate cases. By making improvements now, we update valuable water assets while providing customers with continued water quality and service. The surcharge is limited to a maximum of a 2% increase in any one year with a maximum increase of 7.5% between rate cases.
In January of each year Pennichuck files a 3 year capital improvement plan for WICA related projects with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission. Pennichuck seeks approval of the three year WICA related capital improvements plan as well as approval of a surcharge to recover the expenses associated with the completion of WICA related capital improvements in the prior year.
Pennichuck will file a 3 year capital expenditure plan for proposed its’ 2017-2019 WICA related projects with the PUC on or before January 31, 2017. The 2017-2019 proposed WICA related projects updates the plan filed with the PUC in January of 2016 for WICA related capital expenditures planned for 2016 to 2018. As part of the January 2017 WICA filing Pennichuck is requesting an increase in its WICA surcharge of 1.35% in addition to the 3.03% WICA Surcharge currently in effect.
Please note that Pennichuck filed with the PUC for a rate increase of 17.21% in September of 2016, of which 7.86% is associated with permanent increase and 9.4% is related to a Step increase. If the PUC grants a permanent increase requested by Pennichuck, then the WICA surcharge of 3.03% would be eliminated from your bill in favor of the granted permanent increase. If the PUC grants a Step increase the proposed June 2017 WICA surcharge of 1.33% would be eliminated from your bill in favor of the granted Step increase.
In the event that neither the permanent or Step rate increases requested by Pennichuck are granted by the PUC then the requested increase in the WICA surcharge, if approved by the PUC, would go into effect on customer bills issued after June 1, 2017. The requested increase in the surcharge for the 2016 WICA projects would result in the average single family residential bill increasing by approximately $0.63 per month. The $0.63 per month increase in addition to the current $1.40 per month WICA surcharge currently in effect would result in a total monthly WICA surcharge of $2.03 per month for the average single family residential bill.
If you have any questions or concerns related to Pennichuck's upcoming WICA filing, please contact Pennichuck Customer Service at 800-553-5191 or the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission at 800-852-3793.