Free the Aston 600!

 

Did you know that you’re drinking award-winning water produced by Chester Water Authority (CWA), but paying AQUA prices?

Recently, Marc Lucca, President and CEO of Aqua PA, addressed the CWA board (uninvited) and admitted how AQUA buys 90 million gallons of water from CWA each year. Where does that water go? Read this page to find out.

Every resident and business in Aston Township (without a well) enjoys refreshing, quality CWA water. So why do 7% of Aston’s residences and businesses in the Second Ward, like you, pay more than twice as much for water than the other 93% of households in Aston?  Simply put, it’s all about who owns the pipes.

Take Action Now:

Call PA Representative Leanne Krueger:
(610) 534-6880

Call PA Senator John Kane:
(610) 447-5845

CWA produces and delivers high-quality water directly to 93% of the families and businesses in Aston Township through CWA pipes. The other 7% in Aston Township also enjoy CWA quality water, but because the last portion of pipes that your CWA water travels through before it reaches your home or business is owned by AQUA Pennsylvania, Inc., a subsidiary of Essential Utilities, Inc., you pay more than twice the rate for your water.

Where is the Aston 600?

These 672 homes and businesses are located north of the West Branch of Chester Creek and on the south side of Lenni Road.

What can be done?

CWA wishes to break free the Aston 600 by acquiring Aqua’s connecting pipeline in Aston Township. Then, you could continue to enjoy the same water that you have now (you already drink CWA water), only at the low CWA rate. Because of Aqua’s protected monopoly status, CWA is prevented from doing that. 

It’s a savings of about $672 per year per household.

What will you do with your extra $672 a year?  Do a home project? Buy a new appliance? Make a payment or repair on your car?

Why should a family in the Aqua portion of Aston pay $672 per year more for water service than a family located in the CWA area of the township?  The answer is they shouldn’t pay more.

FREE THE ASTON 600!


Call your elected officials now and ask them to help free the Aston 600
. Tell them to amend the law to end Aqua’s monopoly status and allow you freedom over your water provider.

 

History

CWA began producing water for the Media Borough Water Authority in 1974 through a connecting pipeline. In 1995, Media sold this connecting pipeline to Aqua. Aqua paid Media a purchase price of about $25 million dollars. Despite the fierce objections of Upper Providence, Nether Providence, and Middletown Townships who all obtained their water from Media Borough Water Authority, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved the sale of the Media system to Aqua on March 30, 1995. The sale closed on May 23, 1995.

With the sale, Media paid off the debt on their water system and placed approximately $5.5 million into other capital improvements including improvements to the municipal complex. Part of Aston, Upper Providence, Nether Providence, and Middletown Townships who used Media Borough Water Authority did not receive any financial benefit from the sale of the water system to Aqua. The only thing the customers of the Media Borough Water Authority, including the Aston 600, received out of the deal was a multigenerational legacy of permanently higher water rates.

At the time Media sold their system to Aqua, the rates charged by Media Borough Water Authority were close to rates charged by CWA. A typical residential customer in the Media portion of the system paid about $220 per year for water service while a customer served by CWA paid about $176 per year.

Only two months after the sale closed, Aqua began the process of raising rates for its new customers. This rate increase came on the heels of a rate increase granted to them by the PUC less than a year earlier in 1994. In fact, the rate increase sought by Aqua in 1995 was the seventh requested by their company since 1988. Today, the disparity between what Aqua charges and what CWA charges is wide. As of December 31, 2021, a residential customer using 4500 gallons per month under Aqua PUC proposed rates will pay about $1072 per year for water service while the same Aston customer receiving the same water from CWA pays about $400 per year.1 The roughly 600 customers (604 residences, 58 commercial and industrial connections) in the Aqua-served portion of Aston have paid Aqua almost $3.5 million more than what CWA customers have paid for the same water.

 

Why does Aqua’s water cost so much?

Aqua is an investor-owned utility. They are beholden to shareholders who desire the most lucrative investments for their money. Aqua’s customer rates include charges for their company’s state and federal income tax. Shareholders do not pay the taxes on Aqua’s corporate taxable income, ratepayers do. For every dollar that Aqua collects to run its system, pay its stockholders, and pay taxes and state assessments, it must charge its ratepayers an estimated $1.43.

CWA is a non-profit municipal authority. It does not have investors or shareholders that expect a rate of return. CWA is run by a board of nine directors—three represent the ratepayers in Delaware County, three represent the ratepayers in Chester County, and three represent the ratepayers of the City of Chester. CWA’s only focus is producing high quality, affordable water. Learn more about CWA at chesterwater.com.

 

1 Includes the current rate increase requested by Aqua from the PUC. Any rate increases effective after 1/1/22 including DISC charges, will affect these numbers and change the relative comparison between CWA and Aqua.

 

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from the Pennsylvania Constitution,
Article I, Section 27:
"The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."