For Immediate Release - March 30, 2012

DPU Cuts Proposed New Charges for Aquarion Water Customers by Almost 50 Percent of Amount Requested

DPU decision results in smallest percent rate increase granted to a water company since 1984 and the lowest return on equity (ROE) since the1950s.

BOSTON – Friday, March 30, 2012 – The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an order today reducing the requested rate increase by the Aquarion Water Company of Massachusetts, which services 18,900 customers in the communities of Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, Milbury, and Oxford.  When the new rates go into effect, for residents in Cohasset, Hingham, and Hull, a typical household’s bill will increase by $5.83 per month (about 10 percent); for residents in Millbury and Oxford, a typical household’s bill will increase by $3.99 per month (about 12.5 percent)

“Although the costs of maintaining a safe and reliable system unquestionably justified a rate increase, the amount sought by the company was not supported by the evidence in this case," said DPU Chair Ann Berwick. 

Aquarion requested a $2,801,403 – or 18.72 percent – increase in its water revenues. The DPU’s order shrinks this increase to $1,499,223 (or almost a 50 percent reduction).

DPU’s decision follows a ten-month investigation that included public hearings in Millbury and Hingham and five days of evidentiary hearings.

The DPU cited a lack of productive communication among Aquarion, municipal officials and Aquarion’s customers, and noted that this failure has led to a tense relationship between Aquarion and the towns it serves.

Due to this finding, the DPU has determined that an in-depth review of Aquarion’s communications practices with towns and customers is necessary, and directs the company to conduct an audit of those practices using an independent third-party.

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