Water Rate Hike Stopped by New York State

Daniel Moriarty, Contributor

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Lake DeForest Dam in Valley Cottage, NY (Source of the Hackensack River)

ALBANY, NY (ALBANY COUNTY)-State Regulators have stepped into the fight between Rockland County residents and French based Suez, our county’s water provider.  Suez charges a monthly bill, unlike United Water, who used to serve Rockland County, but the company was merged by Suez last year.  United Water used to charge quarter yearly, or every three months.  Just one of the policies affected by the merger, there was one the consumer’s would care about.  Suez, after taking control of our county’s water system, proclaimed that a rate hike would be charged in 2017.  Well, the consumers, who already see high water rates, and the fact that prices are heightened in droughts, aren’t taking this neutrally.  They are complaining Suez is pushing the limits on rates.  And our failing infrastructure, isn’t helping, either.  Legally, Suez must pay for any repairs to our aging system.  A water main break, such as the one Haverstraw occurred a few years ago, can cost a lot of money, which is derived from water bills paid by consumers.  Here is how it works:  A water main break occurs, and is reported by a resident to Suez and the local police department.  The police race to the scene to establish a detour, and block off the flooded road.  Suez then arrives on the scene with equipment, such as trucks, sewer cameras, and a hired contractor.  In Rockland, In Line Services, Inc. is the certified contractor.  They have supplies such as a new pipe section, and demolition equipment.  A hole is dug many feet away, over the same pipe, where Suez can shut a valve, which stops the water from flowing.  This measure affects the water in local homes and businesses, because water no longer flows into the building.  Then the water is able to dissipate into the soil, allowing the contractor to install new pipe, 1,000’s of dollars later.  Each month, Suez must be able to pay workers, pay for supplies, and make a profit.  This is why people think a rate hike should be stopped in it’s tracks, because the company is headquartered in a different country.  Well, the State of New York stepped in, ruling it unfair and unnecessary to charge a higher rate.   Though not final, the state is expected to pay off the difference, giving an $8.2 Million amnesty to Suez over the abandoned desalination plant in West Haverstraw.

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Lake DeForest Dam

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Water Rate Hike Stopped by New York State