N E W S F R O M T H E

O F F I C E O F C O N S U M E R A D V O C A T E


555 Walnut Street 5th Floor, Forum Place, Harrisburg, PA 17101-1923

Telephone: (717) 783-5048; Fax: (717) 783-7152; Toll-Free (800)684-6560

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2003

CONTACT: Susan Henry, Consumer Liaison shenry@paoca.org


HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate Sonny Popowsky announced today that his Office will ask the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to reject the Initial Decision of an Administrative Law Judge that refused to order Pennsylvania American Water Company (PAWC) to provide water service to the people of Mount Pleasant Township in Washington County.

"We are extremely disappointed that the Judge did not adopt our position that Pennsylvania American Water Company has an obligation to provide desperately needed water service to the residents of Mount Pleasant Township without requiring substantial up-front payments from individual customers," Popowsky said. "But this is only an Initial Decision. It is ultimately up to the five members of the Public Utility Commission to decide the case."

Popowsky said that Exceptions to the Judge’s Initial Decision must be filed with the PUC in Harrisburg by May 20. He said his Office will file extensive exceptions setting forth the enormous need for public water service in Mount Pleasant Township and the modest cost to PAWC of providing that service. Other participants in the case may file Exceptions as well. PAWC is a part of American Water Works Company, the largest water company in the United States, which is in turn now owned by RWE, a German international conglomerate.

"We hope to convince the PUC that the record in this case -- particularly the graphic testimony of dozens of Mount Pleasant residents regarding the hardships resulting from a lack of public water service in terms of illness, fires, poor sanitation, expense and inconvenience -- greatly outweighs the arguments of PAWC that it is not required to provide service without substantial up-front contributions from these customers," Popowsky said.

Additional information about the case can be obtained by calling the Office of Consumer Advocate toll-free at 800-684-6560. A copy of the Initial Decision is available on the PUC website at http://www.puc.state.pa.us under docket number C-00015377.

 

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