“I also see this as an opportunity to create demand for this clean burning fuel, which is priced right because of the current surplus,” said DeBenedictis. “The up-front investment has a relatively quick payback, which accrues to benefit Aqua’s ratepayers through reduced expenses. With an anticipated cost of under $2 per gas gallon equivalent, it will be nearly half the cost of conventional fuels. Further, the maintenance costs of CNG fueled engines are lower.”
DeBenedictis said that company’s like Aqua Pennsylvania, which made the decision to invest in CNG ahead of DEP’s grant regulations, should be not be penalized for taking a progressive stance on green energy. “We made the commitment to CNG because it is the right thing to do,” said DeBenedictis. “As a result, we should not be denied eligibility for State grants that have recently been enabled via legislation.” DEP’s proposed rules do not allow for grants to be awarded for recently purchased CNG vehicles.
Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded water utilities and serves almost 3 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, and Georgia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR.