SUEZ continues its strong commitment to provide an enhanced customer experience through comprehensive conservation programs, digital tools and significant investments in water quality and service reliability in New York State totaling $440 million over the next five years. SUEZ serves nearly 500,000 people in Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Putnam and Tioga counties.
A proposed plan, filed recently with the New York State Public Service Commission, would allow the company to continue to make proactive investments on behalf of its customers.
“Customers no longer compare their experience with their water utilities with just their gas, electric or phone companies. Today they are expecting an exceptional experience that matches the best companies in the world,” said David Stanton, president, Utility Operations. “Our plan announced today is a commitment toward that goal.”
The plan incorporates a request to adjust rates so that customers who conserve or use less water will receive a proportionally lower monthly bill than customers who use more. The Commission has up to 11 months to accept, reject or modify the plan.
If approved in full, the plan would increase the approximate average residential monthly water bill by $0.35 cents day in Rockland and Orange counties; $0.18 cents a day in the City of Rye, and the villages of Rye Brook and Port Chester in Westchester County; and $0.09 cents in Forest Park. Customers in other parts of Westchester would see a reduction in their monthly bills of $0.14 per day and customers in Owego and Nichols will continue with their current rate plan with no additional adjustment. Average residential bills reflect differences in the average amount of water used and the cost to provide service in each area, including considerable increases in income and local taxes in some locations.
SUEZ continues to make substantial improvements to infrastructure that will improve water quality, service reliability, security, and to meet changing regulations.
Despite rising taxes, the company’s investment of $440 million over the next five years represents an average of $3,575 per customer, far greater than the impact of the proposed rate increase.
“While careful investments made on behalf of our customers are critical, we must also be sensitive to the impact they may have on rates,” Stanton said. “Prioritizing our investments allows us to provide a premium service at an affordable rate.”
At its own expense, the company is encouraging the state to mitigate the impacts of recent tax changes on customer bills.
With a proposed new rate design that incentivizes customers to save water, the SUEZ plan strongly encourages conservation while also minimizing the bill impacts to fixed income customers and others who already use limited amounts of water.
In addition, if the plan is approved, SUEZ’ successful water rebate program in Rockland County will be offered to all of its New York utility customers. The program features substantial monetary rebates for high-efficiency clothes washers, showerheads and toilets to homeowners and businesses. To date, more than 3,000 rebates have been redeemed in Rockland alone.
“Water will always be a precious commodity,” said Stanton. “Every customer can make a difference and help ensure water supplies for the next generation.”
SUEZ has challenged the water industry trend by designing a robust customer web experience. Customers who visit mysuezwater.com can now establish a “Green Profile” and gain access to an innovative set of tools, including an interactive conservation survey, conservation goal setting and comprehensive consumption data. Customers can also register for convenient billing options like e-billing and direct debit that are helping to drive “green efficiency” by eliminating paper bills and the need to write and mail checks.
Additional Smart Utility projects include advanced meters that decrease time to detect customer leaks; a program that uses digital tablets to increase accuracy and efficiency of field service operations; and the deployment of digital sensors that provide real-time water quality readings.
The SUEZ plan includes a request that its utility customers in Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Tioga and Putnam counties be merged under one company focused on providing dependable and affordable service to approximately 500,000 people.