OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6994 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING SERVICE PIPES OF WATER COMPANIES.

SUMMARY:

This bill allows investor-owned water companies, under certain conditions, to approve a property owner's application to install a service pipe that extends to the owner's dwelling by crossing intervening properties. (In general, service pipes connect the water main to the point of consumption.) Current regulations generally prohibit such extensions unless the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) approves an exception under certain conditions (Conn. Agencies Reg. 16-11-64). The bill codifies these regulations, and allows a water company to approve the exception under the same conditions.

*House Amendment “A” replaces the original bill (File 591), which also allowed water companies to approve service pipe extensions that crossed intervening properties but did not codify the regulations that generally prohibit extensions crossing intervening properties.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

SERVICE PIPE EXTENSIONS

The bill codifies regulations that require water service pipes to extend through the point on a customer's property line or the street line that is easiest for the water company to access from its existing distribution system. Where practicable, service pipes must be at right angles to the existing water main in front of the premises to be served. Services pipes must not cross intervening properties or operate instead of a proper water main extension running in the street and fronting the property unless the water company or PURA grants an exception. The water company may approve or disapprove a service pipe's proposed location.

Exceptions

Under the bill, a water company may grant a property owner's written request for a service pipe to cross intervening properties if (1) proper easements are in place, (2) the construction complies with the company's rules and regulations, and (3) there is adequate water pressure to serve the property. The property owner may only request an exception under very exceptional hardship circumstances and on a case-by-case basis. He or she must provide documentation to demonstrate that the proposed service pipe will ultimately serve only one premises, otherwise a water main extension must be installed.

The bill specifies that the following are not sufficient cause for granting an exception:

1. the property owner intends to avoid the time and expense of a proper main and service pipe extension, or other reasonable engineering solution that conforms to good engineering practice standards;

2. the property owner intends to continue an existing nonconforming condition by extending or replacing an existing nonconforming service pipe; or

3. a proposed easement does not include sufficient evidence that an alternative ownership of a suitable strip of land for road frontage is not feasible.

Upon approving an application for an exception, the water company must notify PURA of the property's location.

The bill allows a property owner or a water company on behalf of the property owner, to file a request for an exception with PURA if the property owner (1) cannot meet the above conditions in his or her application to the water company or (2) disputes the water company's decision.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Energy and Technology Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

23

Nay

0

(03/24/2015)