All PA water utilities under the jurisdiction of PUC?
On September 29, 2015, Representative Tina Davis, Pennsylvania District 141 representing parts of Bucks County announced:
"In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would place municipal water and sewer authorities under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC). Under current law, PUC does not generally have jurisdiction over municipal authorities. My bill amends the definition of public utility under Title 66 (Public Utilities) to include municipal corporations that provide water and sewage services, thereby requiring PUC to regulate these authorities. In situations where a municipal water or sewer authority is failing to provide a sufficient quality of service, a resident may have limited options. I believe that by providing additional oversight over these municipal authorities through PUC, we can better ensure that Pennsylvania's consumers are receiving reliable utility service at reasonable rates. This additional state oversight will also prove to be crucial in fostering new technologies and competitive markets, while protecting one of Pennsylvania's most precious public resources."
If this legislation gets legs, it would put all the authorities under another layer of regulations. PUC would deal primarily with the management side by regulating rates and general business practices in addition to customer relations and water breaks.
I don't think Rep. Davis understands the strict guidelines utilities are under with DEP regulations and the cost's associated with implementing new regulations. To add another regulatory agency would be over-burdensome and create another layer of removal from the communities that an authority provides services to.
Although we agree, utilities should charge reasonable rates that cover their full operating costs, have policies in place to deal with customer issues and have employees trained to provide quality products, we do not feel this is the way to accomplish that goal.
Pennsylvania Rural Water Association will follow the progress of this proposed legislation and strongly oppose it should it come to the House for a vote.