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Toms River Officials Oppose United Water's Rate Hike Request

Township Council expected to approve resolution tonight

Township Council members are slated to approve a resolution tonight opposing United Water Toms River's recent request for a 24 percent rate increase, Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher said.

"It's excessive and they got a raise a couple of years ago," Kelaher said today.

United Water Toms River services roughly 120,000 homes in Toms River, along with Holiday City, Silver Ridge Park and the Manitou Park sections of Berkeley Township.

The increase the company is asking the state Board of Public Utilities for would raise the average monthly residential bill an additonal $9.39 to $47.10.

United Water Operations Director Rick Pfleiderer said the increase is needed to recover roughly $18 million in water system improvements the company has made or is currently working on since its last rate filing three years ago.

“We fully recognize that nobody likes to see any increase in their water rates," Pfleiderer said. "However, this filing is related to improvements we have made and are currently making to the water treatment and water distribution system that directly benefit our customers. We are very mindful of our costs and have been completely transparent in our explanation of the need for rate relief to our customers and elected officials.”

Pfleiderer said the company has invested nearly $5.6 million in new water transmission mains - replacing older mains and also new mains - to bring service to new customers. In addition, United Water installed distribution mains to help with system redundancy in an effort to improve service reliability and fire fighting pressure.

The company also invested $2.7 million improving the process at its Berkeley Water Treatment Plant, which eliminates radionuclides from the drinking water, and at its Holly Water Treatment Plant, which treats volatile organic chemicals, he said.

United Water also made improvements to its aquifer storage and recovery wells to improve its ability to provide water during the crucial summer months, Pfleiderer said.

 “We’ve made some significant investments to improve and maintain quality service for our customers,” he said. “These improvements were necessary for us to continue to ensure the safety and reliability of our water system and to meet increasingly stringent water quality regulations."

United Water also launched a new $3.5 million customer information and billing computer system last fall, Pfleiderer said.

The upgrade of the customer service system coincided with the implementation of a $2.8 million investment in a new, automatic meter reading system. The new meters send electronic signal which are picked up by a data reader. The new system eliminates the need for meter readers, Pfleiderer said.

Nevertheless, township officials oppose the increase, Kelaher said.

"It's fair to say the Township Council will oppose it," he said.

bayway mike September 25, 2012 at 05:03 PM
If this gets passed, just watch how fast the Toms River MUA asks for a rate hike!!
ikidunot September 25, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Time to drill your own well and cut these theives off.
Silver dollar September 25, 2012 at 06:09 PM
This water company is sucking the seniors citizens dry . Just like the gasoline companies. GREED.
Martin September 25, 2012 at 09:08 PM
The mayor gave no reasons, and perhaps he isn't aware of the $18 million in upgrades made by the water co. because he didn't mention them. The state ratepayer advocate and the board of public utilities will scrutinize the books to see if it's justified. "Just say no" isn't a good strategy, mayor. He wastes more than $9 a month of my property taxes on his pet projects anyway.
amy September 25, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Where do they get "average" bill..I live alone ..water lawn with well water..and never ever had a bill that low..2nd highest utility bill after cable tv
i don't get it?? September 26, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Toms River Officials...what about the rest of us??!! They Really Need to Stop Allowing the Monopolization of Utility Companies!!! Other than the cable companies, we NEED the rest of them...they play God basically...really stinks!!!
Arnold Taranto September 26, 2012 at 02:17 AM
In spite of all the stated improvements, we (Oak Ridge area) are unable to make a decent cup of tea with our United Water Toms River tap water. The water smells of chlorine, tea turns black in a few seconds and literally stinks, and most evenings the vapors coming off a glass of cold tap water actually burns our sinuses. Yet, the Water Company claims our water meets all applicable standards. Something is wrong with the treatment system(s) for the water to have these characteristics. It is time for the local customers to voice our complaints to the BPU and the DEP. Our tap water is not worth what we were paying 3 years ago, much less the increases over these 3 years and now another proposed increase. Why did the Water Company fail to put money aside over the past 30 or 40 years so the expense of replacement water mains would have been borne by the users over that period rather than the current users? Where was the BPU during that time? That agency is supposed to monitor private utility companies to ensure the public that the operating utilities are budgeting properly in order to effectively and efficiently serve their customers. It is time for the public to act. We can not vote individually on a rate increase, but we must advise the BPU and DEP of the problems we experience as rate paying customers of this utility.
Musak3 September 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Most businesses use their profits for improvements. Where are the water co.'s profits going?
Robert Bressman September 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM
You're right about their water, I had to put a RLO water filter system in the water was so bad, you should see how much gunk is in the filters when I change them, maybe then people would get upset about paying them money for the water we drink. I've had them out to my house to check the water, just unbelievable.
Kathleen Spivey September 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM
The last two summers we have had instances where the water is dark brown. This July when the representative came to the house he said he hoped no one had ingested it! Where are all these improvements? More money for less service?
teatleytea September 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM
William J Moss, It is NOT just the senior citizens. I am saying this as not only a senior citizen but, a widowed senior citizen who lives on my husbands pension (which was cut at the time of his death) and social security. With the rising cost of health care(this includes medication that I have to pay out of pocket that is not covered by my secondary insurance), food, electric,gas, homeowners insurance,property taxes (which younger families are not able to freeze),and all of the other utilities that the rest of the WORKING people have to pay. This utility needs to be stopped! It is not because you are a senior or not!!! "We" the seniors are not a privileged group, we need to stop allowing the government to pit seniors against the young, the working against the non working, the rich against the poor. The only way that "WE" and I mean the citizens that are being supplied water by this utility are going to beat them is unite as one and tell them and the BPU that we are done paying not only for inferior quality water we are done paying for inferior quality service. This is the only way that "WE" are going to survive! This is one of the MAJOR problems with this country!!! The leaders in Washington are pitting one group of people against another like I have stated above. Remember the saying "Divide and conquer!" Please everyone young and old it is about ALL of us not just one group or another!!
Captain September 26, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Thanks Toms River for selling the water company! Keep charging us more for water that is unsafe to drink.
Just another day September 27, 2012 at 01:28 AM
The game is played like this:::: All rate increases need to be approved by the BPU. UW asks for 24% knowing they will not get it. Then they "settle" on 12%. The BPU looks like a hero and UW plays it off like their the hero. When all along UW was looking for 12%. It's a total shell game.
Helenm September 29, 2012 at 12:26 AM
$47.10 average residential bill, who are they kidding. I don't know anyone who gets a low bill like that. I too, live alone, don't water grass, don't have any landscaping to take care of and I don't get a low bill like that. I guess they think we're all stupid and believe everything they write!!!!
Helenm September 29, 2012 at 12:28 AM
@ William, not just seniors, EVERYONE......
suz October 01, 2012 at 12:17 PM
My feelings exactly...I guess the township does think we are all stupid!
OH PLEASE October 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM
LESS NOT FORGET THE WATER COMPANY CHARGES YOU EVER 3 MONTHS FOR THERE SERVICES . FROM WHAT I HEARD THEY ARE TRYING TO MAKE IT ALL MONTHLY SO THATS WHERE THERE $47.10 FIGURE COMES IN TO PLACE. SECOND THE WATER COMPANY HAS NOT BEEN THERE FOR 30/40 YEARS. AND THIRD AND FINAL JUST THINK IF YOUR TOWNSHIP WAS RUNNING IT YOU WOULD OF NEVER SEEN THE UPGRADES TO ALL THE SYSTEMS THAT UNITED WATER HAS DONE , OR MAYBE YOU WOULD BUT YOUR TAXES WOULD OF GONE UP ALOT MORE THEN $18.00 A MONTH
Cardinal October 01, 2012 at 06:11 PM
If less houses are being built how does a water Co. justify an increase? And should the improvements already be planned & built into their rates?

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