Illinois Legislature Passes "Triple Play" to Aid Water Companies

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BUSINESS WIRE) - Three important infrastructure bills passed by the Illinois legislature at the end of the spring session will bring opportunity for improved water quality and service to customers of investor-owned water utilities including Consumers Illinois Water Company (a subsidiary of NYSE:PSC), announced Consumers Illinois Vice President for Corporate & Public Affairs Chris Franklin.

According to Franklin, the legislative actions amount to a "triple play" for water customers throughout the state.

Governor George Ryan's Illinois First Initiative will appropriate $667 million for improvements to water and sewer operations across the state. According to Governor Ryan, "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that $77 billion will be spent across the nation to replace aging infrastructure over the next 20 years. The Governor and the legislature are doing their part to avert the potential crisis that could be caused by decaying water and sewer mains."

Until last week, when HB 1849 passed the Illinois legislature, the low interest loan money which comes from State and Federal Governments could only be accessed by municipal water systems.

"This legislation will allow investor-owned water companies to have the same access to the low interest loans as municipal systems and should help to keep rates down for all water utility customers," said Representative Phil Novak (D, 85th District) who sponsored the legislation.

The third leg of the triple play occurred this week when the legislature passed HB 1409 which allows the Illinois Commerce Commission to create a mechanism to encourage regulated water utilities to accelerate water main replacement.

"When similar legislation passed in Pennsylvania, we reduced the replacement of our aging water mains from a 500-year replacement cycle to a more reasonable 100-year time frame," said Franklin.

"It is our hope that the Illinois Commerce Commission will quickly develop regulation, enabled by the passage of HB 1409, that will give incentives to water utilities to replace aging infrastructure at a more aggressive pace," said Senator Rauschenberger (R, 33rd District) who, along with Representative Novak, sponsored the bill.

He further stated, "This model legislation has worked well in other states and after careful consideration by the Illinois legislature, we believe it will be good for jobs, good for firefighters and good for the customers - truly a win-win situation."

Consumers Illinois Water Company is a subsidiary of Philadelphia Suburban Corporation (NYSE:PSC), the nation's second largest investor-owned water utility, and serves approximately 150,000 residents in Illinois. PSC also operates water utilities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and Maine.

Contact: Philadelphia Suburban Water Company Donna Alston, director, Communications 610/645-1095