ENJOY YOUR DRINK at the tap, folks, because it’s going to cost you just a little more to take a sip.
If you’re a homeowner, then you recently received a three-page letter from Pennichuck Water Works announcing a proposed rate increase for all of its customer classes.
The last rate increases approved by the NH Public Utilities Commission first appeared in 2015 as a base rate increase. Then, another hike received the green light during 2016 and 2017 in a 2-part plan.
This time around, here are the proposed increases:
General Metered — 7.85 percent
Non-Metered — 7.85 percent
Municipal Fire — 24.20 percent
Private Fire — 72.09 percent
So, how does that affect the average residential monthly bill? (Many of you probably ripped up the letter after you saw the words “rate increase sought.”)
The current average bill is about $51.02. The proposed permanent rate would soon cost you about $55.04.
Not the end of the world at an extra $4 and change, but these dollars and cents add up fast as other utilities and such continue hiking your bills.
Maybe take shorter showers to save some money?
The late President George H.W. Bush sometimes showered with his dog, Millie. Oh, yes, he did.
According to PWW, the company expects the process with the NH Public Utilities Commission “to be completed sometime during the middle of 2020.”
The water rate increase is being sought “to provide additional financial resources to pay for its operating expenses” and to continue its investment in necessary infrastructure that complies with state and federal safe drinking water standards.
What I find even more compelling than the future hike in our monthly water bills is Pennichuck’s possible move to the heart of Nashua. In a June article by the UL’s Kimberly Houghton, it was reported that the corporation may be relocating to the former Nashua District Courthouse located at the Walnut Street Oval. The building was purchased in 2015 by Rob Parsons, a real estate entrepreneur, fast-food franchise owner and Lowell native. I interviewed him a couple of years ago. He had bought the property for cheap ($720,000) and patiently knew the time would come when something important would occupy that building. He was right and would pocket a nice chunk of change, I am sure.
The waterworks company is looking to possibly move its corporate headquarters there and redesign the 2-story building into a modern office facility with a first-floor parking garage.
There is nothing etched in stone yet, according to Pennichuck CEO Larry Goodhue, but the Nashua City Planning Board recently approved a site plan for the former courthouse property. Pennichuck’s corporate facility is currently housed at 25 Manchester St. in Merrimack.
If that develops, I think it’s a great move on Pennichuck’s part and excellent for the downtown “flow” in making use of the large, vacant building planted in the city’s iconic Millyard District.
I’ll raise my glass of tap water to that.