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The National Association of Water Companies Joins Utilities United Against Scams to Highlight Threats of Scammers

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) joins Utilities United Against  Scams (UUAS) – a consortium of more than 100 electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations – in supporting the second annual Utility Scam Awareness Day to draw attention to the growing issue of utility scams targeting customers.

The effort to educate customers on how to protect themselves from scammers, and to generally raise awareness of the matter are critical components to combat the evolving issue. A recent report published by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) found that people are particularly susceptible to utility scams. Scammers typically contact customers by phone, in-person or the internet posing as a utility employee and exploit the trust customers place in their utilities by using aggressive tactics to extort money. Of the 30 different types of scams tracked and categorized by the BBB, utility scam victims were found to have a median financial loss of $500.

“Water utility customers are particularly susceptible to impostors claiming they need to gain entry to homes to physically check the water meter or pipes located inside the home,” said Joseph Herits, UUAS Vice Chair and Assistant Manager of Customer Service at NAWC-member Middlesex Water Company. “We strongly encourage our customers to act with caution and to ask for a company photo ID before allowing any worker into their home or business. If there is still concern or doubt, customers should call their utilities’ Customer Service Department to verify the activity at their home or business. We value our customers’ safety. The resources available through UUAS will go a long way to helping consumers better protect themselves.”

This week, UUAS released “Consumer’s Guide to Impostor Utility Scams” highlighting the most common types of impostor utility scams, including unsolicited contact via telephone, internet, and in-person visits from an individual claiming to be a utility company representative. In some cases, scammers threaten to disconnect or shut off service immediately unless the customer provides immediate payment.

Customers of private water companies and all utility types who suspect that they have been victims of fraud, or who feel threatened by someone claiming to be a utility employee, should immediately contact local law enforcement authorities. Visit www.utilitiesunited.org for more information and tips about how customers can protect themselves from scams.

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EPA Launches Response On-The-Go Mobile Application

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

EPA’s Response On-The-Go Mobile Application provides users with real-time access to valuable tools and response information including location-based hazardous weather updates, interactive maps and charts from the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and EPA Incident Action Checklists that outline disaster-specific response actions. During hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages and other emergencies, water utility personnel and first line responders must ensure that they are coordinating closely with stakeholders, maintaining awareness of threats to the water system and surrounding community, and documenting response actions. The App can be downloaded for free for use on a variety mobile devices and tablets. For more information, visit https://www.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/water-utility-response-go-mobile-application-and-website

 

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Executive Director Michael Deane to represent NAWC at One Water Summit 2017

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

Each year, the U.S. Water Alliance hosts its One Water Summit. From June 27-29, 2017, leaders from across the country will gather in New Orleans for a thought-provoking and action-oriented national summit on what it will take to secure a sustainable water future for all. The summit will feature important solutions-focused conversation about how we value and manage water to foster economic prosperity, community well-being, and environmental sustainability.

This year, NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane will join the One Water Summit as a speaker for its new session format – Strategic Dialogues. These Strategic Dialogues will focus on the partnerships and collaboration needed to drive towards a more integrated and sustainable approach to how we view, value, and manage water.

During this panel, Michael will represent the National Association of Water Companies, speaking to the research, tools, and initiatives private water companies use and develop to help advance the One Water movement. His discussion will highlight the unique roles and perspectives NAWC brings to the One Water movement.

For more information about the One Water Summit or to register to attend, please visit bit.ly/OWSummit.

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Middlesex Water General Counsel Jay L. Kooper Elected Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Public Utility Law Section

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

Middlesex Water Company Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Jay L. Kooper, has been elected as Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Public Utility Law Section for the section’s 2017-2018 programming year. Kooper was appointed Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Middlesex Water Company in March 2014, and currently serves as the Secretary of the National Association of Water Companies’ New Jersey Chapter and on multiple committees for the National Association of Water Companies and the New Jersey Utilities Association.

With his election, Mr. Kooper joins a long list of New Jersey’s outstanding public utility law practitioners past and present who have previously served as the Public Utility Law Section Chair, including two with ties to Middlesex Water Company – current Director Walter G. Reinhard and past General Counsel Kenneth J. Quinn. “I am deeply honored and humbled that the membership of the Public Utility Law Section has entrusted me with this great responsibility and I look forward to working with the membership to develop programming for the 2017-2018 year that will be useful and appealing to both the Public Utility Law Section membership and the larger legal community of New Jersey,” said Kooper.

The full press release can be read online.

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EPCOR USA Wins 2017 “Economic Driver” Impact Award

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

EPCOR USA has received the 2017 Economic Driver, Large Business, IMPACT award from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

“At EPCOR, we believe that by embracing the powerful combination of public service and private enterprise we can improve water infrastructure in communities across Arizona,” said Joe Gysel, President of EPCOR USA. “Water service and water delivery are a critical piece of our state and country’s economy, and we are honored to be recognized by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce for the commitment, expertise and ingenuity that EPCOR employees bring to Arizona’s water landscape every day.”

“This recognition comes as we celebrate our fifth anniversary in the United States and underscores EPCOR’s deep commitment to quality and excellence, the value of water to our communities and our economy, and the significant and positive impact utilities deliver every day,” Gysel continued.

Since 2012 and including the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce IMPACT Award, EPCOR USA has received 101 awards and recognitions, including 92 safety and operational excellence awards from the AZ Water association, the coveted “Director’s Award of Recognition” from the American Water Works Association and EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Partnership and the National Association of Water Companies’ Living Water Award. The company has been recognized four times by The Phoenix Business Journal with the Best Places to Work designation and was awarded WESTMARC’s “Best of the West” Economic Engine award for its work on the Luke 303 project. Luke 303 has also been recognized with a Build Arizona award from the Arizona Chapter of Associated

The full press release about EPCOR’s recent achievement is available online.

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A #TimetoBuild and a Time to Invest

Posted on by Michael

As America’s attention is drawn to Infrastructure Week, the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) is working to highlight water infrastructure. When the nation focuses attention on the broad spectrum of infrastructure, it is important for the water sector to have a seat at the infrastructure table.

Across the country, there are conversations about transportation, roads, bridges, ports and airports. Because they’re above ground, it keeps them top-of-mind for consumers, communities and public officials. While all types of infrastructure are important, I would argue water infrastructure is the most critical because no other forms of infrastructure would exist without it. Water is the element upon which everything else depends, regardless of whether we can see the pipes and water mains delivering this life-giving resource to our communities.

Water is essential to every aspect of our lives, and it stands to reason that the systems delivering water are as valuable as the water itself.

However, it’s no secret that in many parts of the country, water service isn’t as reliable as it should be – predominantly due to aging infrastructure. Much of America’s complex network of water systems have outlived their useful life, and the responsibility has fallen to this generation to restore, repair and expand the water infrastructure.

The costs and complexities related to the nation’s water infrastructure are challenging, but there are many proven approaches and solutions that can be deployed today and over the next decade to address these water challenges. Overcoming these challenges will require unprecedented partnerships between the public and private water sectors using a variety of solutions.

There is an immediate need to embrace the value of collaboration between government-owned water systems and private water companies. Globally speaking, this nation’s water quality is among the highest, but that won’t continue without immediate, sustained investment in water infrastructure.

With respect to water infrastructure, the health and safety of America is at stake, and so is the quality of life for the next generation.

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Aqua America Recognized For Corporate Board Diversity

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

Aqua America was recognized by 2020 Women on Boards as a 2016 Winning ‘W’ Company for having 20 percent or more of its board of directors seats held by women. Aqua’s board is made up of 25 percent women and is one of 702 companies to receive this recognition.

“It is an honor to be recognized by 2020 Women on Boards for our efforts to increase the number of women in leadership positions throughout the company,” said Aqua America President and CEO Christopher Franklin. “The more diversity within our company, the better able we are to understand and serve our diverse customers, and bring varying points of view to our business.”

This is the second in a pair of awards Aqua has earned for gender diversity on its board. In October, Aqua was celebrated as a Champion of Board Diversity at the 2016 Leadership Breakfast for the Forum of Executive Women, a Philadelphia-area event honoring organizations having 25 percent of women on their respective boards of directors.
2020 Women on Boards is a non-profit grassroots campaign committed to increasing the percentage of women who serve on company boards to 20 percent or greater by the year 2020. The campaign redefines good corporate governance, gender diversity standards and creates a cultural imperative for corporate action.

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SUEZ wins the Smart Water Company of the Year award at the Global Water Awards 2017

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

SUEZ AwardCongratulations to SUEZ on being named Smart Water Company of the Year during the Global Water Awards 2017 ceremony on Monday, April 24 at the Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid.

The Smart Water Company of the Year award recognizes companies that have contributed the most to the advancement of digital technologies in the water sector.

Each year, the Global Water Awards are awarded in the framework of the Global Water Summit, the world’s largest global event for the Water industry.The Global Water Awards are voted by subscribed readers of GWI magazine, Water Desalination Report and individual members of the International Desalination Association (IDA).

More information on the Global Water Awards can be found at: http://globalwaterawards.com

 

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NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane Addresses Food & Water Watch’s False Claims

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

A piece from NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane posted last week at The Hill, a widely read Washington, DC publication. The op-ed, titled “US Water Infrastructure Challenges Need Private Sector Participation,” is in response to a recent piece in the same publication from Food & Water Watch’s Wenonah Hauter in which she criticized any infrastructure proposal that relies on private sector participation. In his piece, Deane sets the record straight, noting that private water models already serve 73 million Americans and that private water companies are already investing to rebuild America’s infrastructure. Noting that the ASCE recently gave America’s drinking water infrastructure a D grade, Deane calls on Hauter to stop demonizing the private sector and to come to the table with real solutions to fill the investment gap.

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Middlesex Water Company Launches $160 Million Infrastructure Effort

Posted on by Marybeth Leongini

Middlesex Water Company has announced a major infrastructure campaign to enhance safety, reliability and resiliency throughout its water system in New Jersey.

The campaign, Water For Tomorrow®, involves numerous projects designed to upgrade and replace infrastructure and enhance the integrity of system assets to better serve the current and future generations of water users. Middlesex plans to invest $160 million through 2018 in connection with this plan.  The Middlesex system in New Jersey provides retail, commercial and industrial water services to 61,000 homes and businesses in Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, South Amboy, South Plainfield and Woodbridge.

This long-planned capital program follows the recent release of an Infrastructure Report Card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which rated the state of our country’s water infrastructure a D+ and urged a wakeup call attending to the condition of America’s drinking water.

“Working to ensure sustained quality service across generations is a major part of our responsibility as a steward of a precious natural resource that is critical to economic stability, as well as to life itself. This responsibility requires that we make smart, proactive capital investments,” said Dennis W. Doll, Middlesex Water Chairman, President and CEO.  “The projects encompassed in the Water For Tomorrow campaign are all based on rigorous asset management evaluations. They are a natural extension of the diligence we have applied over many years to make prudent investments to bolster our water delivery network, enhance system pressures and storage, provide critical back up supplies, reduce lost water, and enhance the safety of our water treatment process,” added Doll.

Additional information and updates about the Water For Tomorrow program can be found on www.middlesexwater.com.

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