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Milford Water Company, MA, gets 25% rate increase


By Leslie H. Dixon / Daily News Staff
Thursday, April 6, 2006 - Updated:

MILFORD -- The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a water rate settlement agreement last night that will give the Milford Water Company a 25 percent revenue increase but will affect its 8,700 ratepayers in various ways.

"(It) will impact some more and some less," said Town Counsel Gerald Moody of the agreement that must now be approved by the Department of Telecommunications and Energy.

In November, selectmen hired a Newburyport consulting firm to guide the board as it positioned itself in the Milford Water Company’s move to increase its water rate by 39 percent over a two-year period to offset a $1.1 million increase in company expenses. Both the town and Milford Water Company officials were able to reach a settlement without going through the entire rate setting hearing process.

"We felt very strongly that 39 percent was too much," said selectmen Chairman Dino DeBartolomeis of the board’s focus to lower the water company’s initial request.

Selectman Bill Buckley who two weeks ago asked the board to delay approving it until he had a chance to review the agreement, said it was his review of individual water users’ rates that shows the new rates will vary depending on the water use.

"No one likes a rate increase," said Buckley. "We’re probably at the best place we can be now."

David Russell, the town’s consultant in the water rate case, said he believes the number is not far off from what the final settlement would have been if they had gone through the entire hearing process.

"It’s very beneficial to the ratepayer," said Russell. "Overall it’s a very good package."

Moody, who negotiated the agreement on behalf of the town said the agreement includes some beneficial language that will, for example, ensure that Milford receives a continuous supply of filtered water in case of a prolonged power outage or other incident that could affect the town’s water.

"It’s an excellent agreement," said Selectman Brian Murray. He added that the elimination of the conservation rate was not beneficial to residential customers and should be looked at again in the future.

In addition to the rate hike, the agreement also changes other items such as water hookup fees.