Marlboro will challenge firm’s request for higher water rates

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MARLBORO – A move is underway in Marlboro to fight a proposed 19.7 percent rate increase from the Middlesex Water Company. A petition of opposition to the proposed increase was approved by the Township Council on Dec. 14.

The resolution put before the council was on behalf of the Marlboro Township Water Utility Division to file a petition of intervention regarding a proposed rate increase from the Middlesex Water Company, Woodbridge.

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On Oct. 10, the company filed a petition with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities requesting a 19.76 percent rate increase. According to Marlboro officials, the company controls 70 percent of the township’s water.

The resolution states that “the Middlesex Water Company’s proposed rate increase is weighted disproportionately on the transmission component of the total rate it charges, an increase from $686.31 per million gallons to $1,296.20 per million gallons or 75.75 percent and under the township utility division’s contract with Middlesex Water, the impact of a 19.76 percent rate increase disproportionately weighted on the transmission component represents an actual effective rate increase of 26.73 percent for the township.”

Business Administrator Jonathan Capp said Marlboro’s total rate would increase from $3,271 per million gallons to $4,145 per million gallons, an increase of $874 per million gallons.

The resolution states that “if the increase is granted, it will have a dramatic financial impact on the customers of the Marlboro Township Water Utility Division as well as on the utility’s contract customers, including the Gordon’s Corner Water Company.”

Capp said the Middlesex Water Company supplies about 8,600 customers in Marlboro, or about 70 percent of the township.

He said the Gordon’s Corner Water Company serves the remainder of the township, or about 4,700 customers, and that the Marlboro Township Water Utility Division supplies water to the Gordon’s Corner Water Company through a water supply agreement.

Asked for a comment on the issue, a representative of the Gordon’s Corner Water Company said, “Our rates will not be affected at this time. The current rates will remain the same through 2018. We have not had a rate change since 2014.”

Mayor Jonathan Hornik said, “We are asking to authorize an expenditure so we can team up with other towns and fight this increase. This is the biggest increase we have seen in my years as mayor, so we have to try and push back on this.”

In other business relating to this matter, the council approved a shared services agreement with the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority (OBMUA).

The agreement states that Marlboro will provide legal and expert utility rate analysis services to the OBMUA in connection with the petition of opposition.

“The OBMUA is also a contract bulk purchaser of water from the Middlesex Water Company and has expressed its desire to intervene in this matter. The OBMUA is in need of legal and expert utility rate analysis professional services in support of its intervention in the matter of the Middlesex Water Company’s rate increase petition,” according to the document.

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