Maine PUC approves Biddeford and Saco Water agreement
The State of Maine Public Utilities Commission has approved a Stipulation Agreement that clears the way for the Biddeford and Saco Water Company to join forces with Maine Water and The Connecticut Water Company.
CLINTON, CT, Nov. 9, 2012 -- Connecticut Water Service, Inc. (CTWS) announced today that the State of Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has approved a Stipulation Agreement entered into by the Biddeford and Saco Water Company (the "Company"), The Maine Water Company ("Maine Water"), the Public Advocate of Maine, and the City of Biddeford that clears the way for the Biddeford and Saco Water Company to join forces with Maine Water and The Connecticut Water Company ("Connecticut Water").
The Company serves nearly 16,000 customers in the Maine communities of Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, and Scarborough. Maine Water serves nearly 16,000 customers, or about 50,000 people, in 17 communities throughout Maine, and is a subsidiary of CTWS and sister company to Connecticut Water that serves more than 90,000 customers, or 300,000 people in Connecticut.
In its decision, the MPUC concluded that the terms of the Stipulation Agreement "...are not adverse to the public interest..." Among the items included in the Agreement are provisions to create a customer advisory council to assist the Company in identifying and prioritizing capital investment and infrastructure needs, and to hold regular meetings with municipal leaders to coordinate annual capital spending plans and address operational issues. Further, the Company affirmed its commitment to the water resources of the Saco River for public water service to protect and preserve Company-owned land on the Saco River. The complete MPUC Order and the Stipulation Agreement can be found at the MPUC's Web site: www.maine.gov/mpuc.
According to Judy E. Wallingford, President of Maine Water, "The Agreement aligns well with Maine Water's core values of serving customers and our communities, while being responsible stewards of the environment. In particular, I am delighted that a Customer Advisory Council is being established to help prioritize infrastructure investment in the water system."
Jerry Mansfield, President of the Biddeford and Saco Water Company, stated, "The increased access to capital by becoming a part of Maine Water and CTWS allows for greater infrastructure investment to maintain and improve the system, which is needed for future economic development as well public health and safety."
According to Eric W. Thornburg, President of CTWS, the Agreement and its approval by the MPUC is good for all of the Company's stakeholders. He stated, "A robust, reliable water system is vital to the quality of life of our families, the economic development of our communities, and public safety. We are eager to work in the communities to deliver on our commitment to customer service and investing in critical infrastructure."
A closing of the merger of a CTWS subsidiary with and into the Company is planned for December 2012, pending approval of the shareholders of the Biddeford and Saco Water Company. The transaction reflects a total enterprise value of approximately $19.8 million (as of July 18, 2012).
When the transaction is completed, CTWS's overall customer base would grow by 16,000 customers, or approximately 15 percent, and it would be the fastest growing investor-owned water utility in New England with 122,000 customers, or a population of 400,000 people, in the states of Connecticut and Maine. CTWS would also become the largest investor-owned water utility in the State of Maine with nearly 32,000 customers serving close to 100,000 people between Maine Water and the Biddeford and Saco Water Company.