|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact:
Andy Stettler/Jay Devine
Stettler 610-657-3805 (m)
DELCORA Board Approves Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater Asset Purchase Agreement
Agreement Offers $1,400 in Average Savings to Retail Ratepayers
CHESTER, PA (September 17, 2019) – The Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA) announced today that its board of directors voted unanimously to approve the execution of an asset purchase agreement (APA) with Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater, Inc. and proceed with the proposed merger, pending Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approval. The purchase price is $276.5 million which will be used to pay off outstanding debt and reinvested in a rate stabilization plan. The agreement comes after an exhaustive, consultative process which involved over 20 meetings with employees, municipal officials and the Delaware County Council as well as two public meetings with customers.
The merger is grounded on a rate stabilization plan that would be used to offset customer bill increases. The rate stabilization plan, announced at a public meeting on September 11, is expected to save an average retail customer $1,400 and will help to offset almost $1.2 billion in new and ongoing capital costs to meet soon to be enforced U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) regulations as well as DELCORA’s ongoing capital program.
“Our number one goal throughout this process was to find a partner who could help us stabilize rates for our ratepayers in the face of large, looming capital costs,” said DELCORA Executive Director Robert Willert. “By partnering with Aqua Pennsylvania, DELCORA was able to develop a rate stabilization plan with an experienced operator with knowledge of the local community while also preserving all DELCORA jobs.”
At this process’ outset, the DELCORA Board set out several key principles in seeking a partner. These principles were: stabilize customer rates; protect all DELCORA jobs; have a partner with knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the local community, as well as a commitment to the same high quality service and environmental standards; and experience in managing major capital pipeline and construction projects.
DELCORA faces significant capital costs to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Combined Sewer Long-Term Control Plan in Philadelphia and in Chester. A recent consent decree mandates that municipal wastewater authorities take steps to manage combined sewer systems including building new or replacing existing infrastructure. Because these mandates are unfunded, municipal authorities typically must increase rates to pay for the new capital costs.
“Rather than stay the course and undertake significant projects that are expected to have high costs and dramatically increase customer rates, DELCORA decided to partner with Aqua to address these challenges,” said Aqua Pennsylvania President Marc Lucca. “Because of our economies of scale, technical expertise, and long-standing commitment to southeastern Pennsylvania, this partnership will serve to benefit our current and future customers along with the region’s environment.”
The Delaware County Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA) is a municipal authority with an almost 50-year history of successfully treating wastewater for approximately 500,000 customers in 42 municipalities in Delaware and Chester counties. DELCORA is involved in the treatment of approximately 100 million gallons of wastewater every day. It is an independent municipal authority overseen by a board of directors.