Regulator blocks New York desalination proposal
A US regional regulator recently dashed a bid by utility, United Water New York to build a desalination plant after customers rejected the water firm's proposed up-front price hikes to meet the cost of the plant.United Water had applied to the state for the permission to raise bills by US$56.8 million to fund a desalination plant on the Hudson River. But the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) blocked the plan when it put back a decision about Rockland County's long-term water needs from 2015 to 2020.
The desalination proposal was unpopular among the local communities. "Local opposition to the plant included 17 elected officials, 26,000 petition signatures, resolutions by four Rockland towns and 12 villages and almost 2,000 people attending an October, 2013 Public Service Commission hearing," according to a report citing PSC documents.
Consumer opposition to the proposal centered on rate hikes. The utility estimated "that if the surcharge is approved, the average residential water bill would increase by 8.08 percent."
Opponents of the scheme speaking at community meetings in Rockland, NY were reported in the local press to have emphasized the their disgust at the prospect of drinking water originating from the Hudson River. Lawyer for municipalities opposing the plan, Daniel Duthie, was reported to have said: "Nobody wants to be drinking brackish Hudson River water that is drawn a couple of miles downstream from the Indian Point nuclear plant."