The Milford Water Co. will ask state regulators to allow it to nearly double the water rate: as much as a 90 percent increase.
The private utility informed Milford town leaders of the anticipated rate request Wednesday. The filing with the state Department of Public Utilities is expected by Monday.
The town is expected to intervene in the request, said Town Counsel Gerry Moody. "I don't feel they're entitled to it," he said Thursday.
The rate hike request is based on the value of the new water treatment facility under construction on Dilla Street. The facility is now expected to be completed at a cost of about $25 million, said Water Co. General Manager David Condrey.
Company officials met Thursday with Moody, and Town Administrator Louis Celozzi, to discuss the new figures. Earlier this year, the company had announced it planned to seek about a 50 percent increase.
To construct the new water plant, the company obtained aAt that time, the town challenged the size of the loan, noting that it would impact customers through the anticipated 50 percent rate increase.
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The approval process for a rate increase is lengthy, Moody said, and will include public hearings. The process could take up to a year.
"It's our duty to appear before the DPU, representing the rate payers, and ... [make sure] they only get what they're entitled to."
Condrey said the 90 pecent is "on the high side" of what the company expects to need, but disclosed that number with town officials Thursday to keep them informed. "That's the worst-case scenario."
"We're still finalizing the numbers."
The rate request would be, by far, the largest in the company's history, he said. Condrey said he expects customers will be upset, but noted that water consumption can be controlled.
If the rate hike is approved, Condrey said, the company doesn't plan to have it go into effect until late in 2013.