Attention Delaware Residents: Do acronyms such as H2O, Cl2, WTP and CCR only serve to confuse and overwhelm you? You’re not alone. These acronyms are simply abbreviations for terms commonly used in the water industry, and stand for water, chlorine, water treatment plant and consumer confidence report, respectively. Oftentimes, jargon used outside of the industry is not well understood, which is why some consumers may be compelled to disregard information if it appears to be too complicated. As a property owner of real estate, you may periodically receive a letter from Middlesex Water Company affiliate, Tidewater Utilities (TUI) in reference to a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). Take a moment to understand the value of the often misinterpreted CPCN program.
While not specific to the water industry, the history of CPCN’s date back to the late 1800’s when they were first developed to prevent duplication of services, protect investments through rate regulation and balance the social and organizational goals of society. They also helped to manage competition, and avoid the targeting of specific customers based on their geography. To summarize, the goal of a CPCN program is to make services accessible to the public in a fair and equitable manner for all parties. In order for TUI to supply water to a property, it must first be granted the water rights to serve that property by the governing regulatory agency. The agency will only approve the right to serve each parcel to one organization, giving the grantor the legal right to serve in perpetuity, unless a petition to withdraw is presented and approved.
Who Does a CPCN Affect?
If you reside within town limits you are likely served by the town’s public water system. The town already holds the rights or the CPCN to serve your property. Similarly, if you live in a subdivision with an established water supply, the related steps to secure the CPCN was most likely sorted out during the development phase of your community. If, however, you live outside of the town limit or independent of a subdivision, you may not have encountered the need for a CPCN because you may have a private well. If a private water supply is already located in your area or you anticipate that connecting to a private supply might be advantageous in the future, having the administrative steps of the CPCN process completed will expedite the connection if and once you decide you want to connect with that water service.
Applying for a CPCN
Securing a CPCN with TUI is easy. As previously mentioned, you may receive a letter or you can access the petition online. Complete the petition and make sure that the legal owner(s) of the parcel(s) sign in order to validate the petition. Return the signed original petition to us and we will perform the next steps which include filing the request with the governing agency, publishing a public notice and responding to questions, if applicable. The governing agency will grant/deny approval and we will notify you accordingly. If you sell your property after the CPCN has been approved, the water rights to serve your parcel remains with us and does not dissolve with the transfer of ownership. At any point in the future, if infrastructure is available, you may connect by completing a water service application and remitting the applicable fees. It is important to note that we cannot guarantee service will be available to you, even if the CPCN is granted, nor will you be required to connect once water mains are established.
Plan Your Future Water Needs
The CPCN program is designed to ensure that there are adequate facilities to meet demand, provide affordable rates by leveraging economies of scale and encourage sensible investments in infrastructure. Furthermore, consumers on a private water supply benefit from having a continuous water supply (even when the electric goes out) that meets water quality standards. Lastly, it’s important to be comfortable with the technical excellence and reputation of the system with which you might consider connecting. Is their team visible, approachable? How do they ensure water quality, how engaged are they in the communities they serve? Participating in the CPCN program secures your option and potential future access to a dependable water supply. Taking action now to safeguard your family and future generations with a back-up plan for essential water services will prevent unnecessary worry in the event that your well becomes compromised. We’re here to help you navigate what can be a tricky decision. To learn more about our CPCN program or to start your petition contact one of our friendly and helpful team members by calling 302-734-7500 ext. 1014 and ask for Joe. Or email [email protected].