BELMONT — The Abenaki Water Company, which serves 158 customers in the Plummer Hill area of Belmont, has applied to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for steep increases in its water and sewer rates.
The Abenaki Water Company, a subsidiary of New England Service Company of Plainville, Connecticut, was formed with the Lakeland Management Company and White Rock Water Company, both of which owned by the Crashaw family and headquartered in Gilford. Abenaki Water Company serves 253 customers in New Hampshire, 95 in Bow along with those in Belmont.
The company has proposed increasing its annual revenue from water sales by $45,383, or 23.4 percent, to a total of $239,266 for the systems in Belmont and Bow. For a single family home in Belmont the average monthly water bill, based on using 3,000 gallons, would rise from $53.75 to $65.00, an increase of $11.25 or 20.9 percent.
At the same time, the company has proposed increasing its annual revenue from sewer service in Belmont by $39,246, or 50.1 percent, to a total of $117,559. The monthly sewer bill for a single family home in Belmont using 3,000 gallons of water would rise from $34.55 to $50.77, an increase of $16.22 or 46.9 percent.
In addition to raising its base rates, the company seeks to recover deferred sewer treatment expenses from its customers in Belmont by means of a surcharge of $1.75 on their monthly sewer bills for one year.
Abenaki Water Company claims that its current rates are insufficient to defray the costs of necessary capital investments and regular operating expenses while ensuring the company a rate of return of eight percent. The company also seeks to recover $102,233 in so-called "organizational costs" associated with the acquisition of the water systems in Belmont and Bow by New England Service Company, Inc.
In an order issued last month the PUC found that the company's proposal raised issues of the "justness and reasonableness" of the projected rates. "Full investigations are necessary to determine whether the proposed temporary increases and proposed permanent increases are in the public good," the order reads.
The PUC has scheduled prehearing conference at the offices of the commission at 21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10, Concord at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 21 at which customers or their representatives may comment on the company's proposal.
Meanwhile, Senator Andrew Hosmer will host a public meeting to discuss the proposed rate increases at the Briarcrest Community Center at 100 Diamond Place on Sunday, September 13, beginning at noon.
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