PUC signs off on Pa. American’s $195 million Scranton sewer deal

//October 7, 2016

PUC signs off on Pa. American’s $195 million Scranton sewer deal

//October 7, 2016

The Pennsylvania Utility Commission on Thursday voted 4-1 in favor of the deal, which was announced in March

PUC vice chairman Andrew Place, who voted against the plan, expressed concerns that Pennsylvania American Water’s existing customer base in Pennsylvania will be asked to pay much more in the long run to cover the full costs of the deal.

Some of the potential costs stem from a 2013 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  that mandates $140 million in upgrades to Scranton’s sewer system.

The sale agreement maintains current wastewater rates for Scranton’s 31,000 customers until 2018. 

Commissioners in support of the deal said it would be inappropriate to prejudge who will be asked to shoulder the costs until the Dauphin County-based utility files for a rate increase. 

The purchase will help pay off about $70 million in debt for Scranton. Pennsylvania American Water, which provides water service in Scranton, projects it will save customers more than $350 million over the next 30 years, or about $7,600 per household.

The deal still needs approval from the EPA, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Justice Department. 

Pennsylvania American Water is part of publicly traded American Water Works Co. Inc.