The Villages of Lynbrook, Valley Stream and Cedarhurst are exploring the feasibility of opposing the Long Island American Water (LIAW) , presently pending before the New York Public Service Commission.
The villages have authorized upstate PSC utility expert Daniel P. Duthie, Esq. to intervene on their behalf and formed the “Municipal Consortium in Support of Reasonable Water Rates” to obtain information and facts regarding the rate increase and the recently announced acquisition of Aqua New York by LIAW parent American Water Works Company.
“LIAW does not intend to reduce its 20 percent rate increase request, nor share any of the savings to our residents from the merger” Lynbrook Mayor Bill Hendrick said. “Their proposal only benefits their shareholders."
Back in June, William Varley, president of LIAW, said that he is completely cognizant of the costs involved in the increase.
"No one likes a rate increase, but it's not sustainable [without one]," he said. "... I've got to continue to invest in infrastructure to meet water quality requirements, and in the most efficient and effective manner."
The Village Boards of East Rockaway, Malverne, Hewlett Bay Park, Hewlett Harbor, Hewlett Neck, Island Park, Lawrence, Atlantic Beach and Woodsburgh have said that they are presently considering to join the consortium to "protect" their residents against the proposed rate increase.
“Requesting a rate increase while simultaneously ignoring the synergy savings associated with the merger is unconscionable, particularly during the current economic climate”, Duthie said. “The New York Public Service Commission requires benefits to ratepayers as a condition of merger approval. LIAW has ignored this legal precedent.”
The consortium anticipates the other villages to participate to avoid losing potential benefits associated with the intervention.