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State Of New Jersey Division of Ratepayer Advocate  


I/M/O Parkway Water Company
For An Increase in Rates and Charges For Water Service
BPU Docket No. WR05070634

Public Hearing
Howell, New Jersey
January 25, 2006 – 7:00 p.m.
Hon. W. Todd Miller, ALJ, Presiding

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Susan McClure. I am an attorney with the New Jersey Division of the Ratepayer Advocate. The Ratepayer Advocate represents and protects the interests of all utility consumers - residential customers, small business customers, small and large industrial customers, schools, libraries, and other institutions in our communities. The Ratepayer Advocate is a party in cases where New Jersey utilities seek changes in their rates or services. The Ratepayer Advocate also gives consumers a voice in setting long-range energy, water and telecommunications policy that will affect the rendering of utility services well into the future.

In the present case, Parkway Water Company (hereafter referred to as “Parkway” or the “Company”) is a water utility franchised to provide water service to portions of Howell Township.

On July 26, 2005, the Company filed a petition with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“Board” or “BPU”) seeking approval for an increase in rates for water service of approximately 105%, or about $763,000 in annual revenues. The average residential customer using 26,000 gallons of water per quarter would see his or her bill increase from $88.14 to $180.68 per quarter.

We, at the Ratepayer Advocate, are conducting a comprehensive examination of Parkway’s proposal to verify the reasons for the increase in charges and to determine whether the Company’s calculations are accurate. For example, we have issued questions to the Company, seeking to discover detailed information regarding the proposed increases, including the basis for the Company’s calculations. The Company must justify its expenses and provide evidence to support its calculations. These are all factors to be considered when analyzing the Company’s proposal.

The Ratepayer Advocate has attorneys, engineers, and accountants analyzing data from the Company to effectively examine the proposed pass-through of charges. If necessary, evidentiary hearings will be held, at which time we will cross-examine the Company’s witnesses. It is important, however, that you be aware that decisions regarding all rate modifications in New Jersey are made by the Board of Public Utilities.

The purpose of this open public hearing is for you, the customer, to voice your opinion, relate your experiences with the Company, and offer comments about the Company’s proposed increase and any service problems you may be experiencing. It is important that you express your views, because they will become part of the record on which the BPU will make its decision. The Ratepayer Advocate also needs to hear your views in order to represent your interests in this legal process. We strongly encourage your participation, which will help us evaluate Parkway’s proposal and prepare for the evidentiary hearings.

This public hearing is being transcribed and your comments will become part of the record. Judge Miller will instruct you to give your name and address before you speak. I would like to reiterate the importance of your input so that the Ratepayer Advocate can have a clear record of your concerns and interests.

On behalf of the Ratepayer Advocate, I thank you for attending this public hearing.

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New Jersey Division Of The Ratepayer Advocate
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