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Public input sought on Aqua NY takeover

The New York State Public Service Commission is seeking public comments until next week on a petition from American Water Works Co. to acquire Aqua New York Inc.

American Water’s purchase proposal includes supply systems operated by Aqua NY, which serves parts of Hempstead and Oyster Bay towns, as well as Westchester, Washington and Ulster counties. Long Island American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, already provides water service to 74,000 customers in the Town of Hempstead.

In January, Hempstead and Oyster Bay towns committed $75,000 to the Water Authority of Southeastern Nassau County to help pay for a feasibility study weighing the costs and benefits of the authority taking over Aqua NY. The authority has the power to take over Aqua NY’s current service area even after American Water’s potential purchase of Aqua NY, authority officials said.

Supporters of a public takeover said it could mean long-term savings for Aqua customers. But authority members argued a takeover would result in the loss of property taxes paid by Aqua NY, which school districts would have to recoup through increased taxes.

Public comments are accepted through the commission’s 24-hour opinion line at 1-800-335-2120, by email to secretary@dps.state.ny.us, or by mail to Hon. Jaclyn A. Brilling, Secretary at Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223-1350, referring to “Case 11-W-0472 — American Water Works Acquisition.” All comments must be received no later than Feb. 23.

The commission may deny or grant American Water’s petition, with or without conditions. The transaction is also subject to approval by Ohio regulatory authorities since the deal between both companies would involve the transfer of American Water’s Ohio operations to an Ohio affiliate of Aqua NY.
 

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