FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- After proposed spikes in rates as high as nearly 17 percent, a federal tax rebate will allow Aquarion Water Co. to cut its prices by 5.6 percent over three years, the Fairfield County-based water company announced in a press release Tuesday.
The total amount to be returned to customers through reduced rates is $29 million, according to the release.
Aquarion had planned to hike its rates by 16.8 percent to cover some of the costs of more than $143 million in critical water utility infrastructure upgrades. But the tax rebate will pay for those improvements instead.
The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority must review and approve the proposal for rebates before it is finalized, Aquarion said.
“We are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality water and outstanding service,” Aquarion President and CEO Charles V. Firlotte said in the statement. “We are grateful that these regulations will allow us to continue to reliably provide safe, high quality water, at an even more economical rate. I am also appreciative of the assistance and support of the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel and the office of the Connecticut Attorney General in making this happen.”
In addition to the rate reduction, Aquarion announced it will be delaying its next general rate case. Aquarion will also delay its planned Water Infrastructure and Conservation Adjustment from April 1 to Oct. 1.
Aquarion will still continue to invest in WICA eligible main replacements during this time period. The WICA program enables Aquarion to replace aging and undersize infrastructure to enhance water system reliability, public fire protection, and conservation of water and power.
“We are pleased to be able to delay our next scheduled application to PURA,” Firlotte added in the statement. “In the interim, we will continue to make prudent investments to improve and maintain the integrity of our system’s infrastructure.”
In announcing the delay, Firlotte said, “The change in regulations has resulted in a great settlement for our customers. They will receive an on-going benefit by not only seeing a reduction to their bill, but also stability in their water rates.”
Aquarion has customers in Darien, part of Danbury, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Norwalk's 1st and 2nd Taxing Districts, New Canaan, Redding, part of Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton.