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Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE: WTR) today reported that with rare exception, the half million customers who experienced the wrath of Hurricane Sandy did so without any interruption to their water or wastewater service. The company credited its success to the advance planning and deployment of personnel, generators, fuel and supplies, and the extraordinary commitment and expertise of its dedicated workforce as well as its electric utility partners in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia.
The bulk of its customers are in Pennsylvania and the majority of those (362,000) are in southeastern part of the state. “In southeastern Pennsylvania where we have 9 surface water treatment plants and more than 80 wells, we had no customers out of water,” said Aqua America’s President of Regulated Operations Chris Franklin. “The same was true in our Sayre-, Shamokin- and Shenango-area operations. Overall our management and operations teams did an outstanding job maintaining service to our facilities during one of the worst storms in recent history. Of our total 435,000 Pennsylvania customers, fewer than 400 were without water at any time during the storm.”
“More remarkably, none of our 56,000 New Jersey customers were without of water during the storm,” said Franklin. “There were about 10 systems that required a transition to standby electric generator power, but no customers’ service was affected. Virginia, where we serve nearly 30,000 customers, fared equally well. The impact was limited to fewer than 50 customers who might have experienced lower than normal pressure for a very limited time. Most importantly, water quality was never compromised by the storm, and no precautionary boil water advisories were required or issued as a result of the storm.”
Franklin added, “In addition to the physical damage left by a storm, its impact is often measured by its impact on utility performance. Hurricane Sandy clearly was one of the most devastating storms our area has seen. By minimizing the impact of this powerful storm on water service to our customers, we removed one of the largest potential inconveniences they could have experienced during an event of this magnitude—being without water for basic needs. We are extremely thankful to our Aqua employees for their hard work as well as those of our electric partners.”