United Water Customers Can See Average Increase of $10 Per Month in Bills
(PR)–United Water Toms River has filed for rate relief with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to request recovery of approximately $18 million in water system improvements that the company has made or is currently working on since its last rate filing three years ago. The company provides water service to about 120,000 people in the Township of Toms River, South Toms River and a portion of Berkeley Township.
The proposed increase, if approved by the Board of Public Utilities, would increase the typical residential customer’s bill (using 5,000 gallons per month) by $9.39 per month or 31 cents per day – making the cost per gallon of water delivered to customer taps on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis still less than a penny.
“We fully recognize that nobody likes to see any increase in their water rates, however, this filing is related to improvements we have made and are currently making to the water treatment and water distribution system that directly benefit our customers,” said Rick Pfleiderer, Director of Operations, United Water Toms River. “We are very mindful of our costs and have been completely transparent in our explanation of the need for rate relief to our customers and elected officials.”
Investments Improve Service Reliability for Customers
According to Pfleiderer the company has invested nearly $5.6 million in new water transmission mains, both replacing older mains and also new mains to bring service to new customers. In addition, United Water installed distribution mains to help with system redundancy in an effort to improve service reliability and fire fighting pressure.
The company also invested $2.7 million improving the process at its Berkeley Water Treatment Plant, which eliminates radionuclides from the drinking water, and at its Holly Water Treatment Plant, which treats volatile organic chemicals. United Water also made improvements to one of its Aquifer Storage and Recovery Wells to improve its ability to provide water during the crucial summer months.
“We’ve made some significant investments to improve and maintain quality service for our customers,” said Pfleiderer. “These improvements were necessary for us to continue to ensure the safety and reliability of our water system and to meet increasingly stringent water quality regulations.”
New Customer Service and Billing System Will Benefit Customers
United Water completed the launch of its state-of-the-art customer information computer system last fall. While this represents a $3.5 million investment, the industry-leading technology results in a new system that is already helping the company improve the customer experience by transforming the way we do business.
The upgraded customer service and billing system ties together every aspect of customer information, which improves communications by automatically generating such things as payment reminders and service alerts to customers. With information at their fingertips, the customer service teams can respond in a timelier manner. Customers will see better management of their accounts from the new system.
The upgrade of the customer service system coincided with the implementation of a $2.8 million investment in a new, automatic meter reading system, specifically designed to be more convenient for customers. That’s because they no longer need to have a meter reader drop by the house since the new meter sends an electronic signal which is picked up by a data reader.
In addition to the improvements made in recent years, United Water will replace infrastructure when necessary, to further ensure water quality and reliable service. This includes water mains, hydrants and valves. The company will also continue to upgrade residential meters to radio frequency transmitting meters, ensuring more accurate bills and greater convenience for customers.