OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 422

AN ACT CONCERNING RESIDENTIAL WATER RATES, PUBLIC DRINKING WATER SUPPLY EMERGENCIES AND SELLERS OF BOTTLED WATER.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner, when implementing water use restrictions during a public drinking water supply emergency, to require that water sales to residential customers for essential residential use be given priority over sales to commercial water bottling companies exporting water out of the state during the emergency. Existing law gives the DPH commissioner broad authority to mandate water use restrictions during such an emergency.

The bill also bars municipalities and entities (presumably public and private water companies) from charging licensed water bottlers a (1) water rate less than that charged to other consumers or (2) clean water project charge rate less than the charge to residential consumers. The bill's rate restrictions supersede any statute, charter, or special act.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

BACKGROUND

Public Drinking Water Supply Emergency

Existing law authorizes the DPH commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, to declare a public drinking water supply emergency when he receives information that one exists, is imminent, or is reasonably expected to occur without immediately implementing conservation practices. During such an emergency, the DPH commissioner may allow or order the (1) implementation of water conservation practices, including restrictions on a public water system's or municipality's water use; (2) sale, supply, or taking of waters; and (3) temporary interconnection of water mains to sell or transfer water between water companies (CGS 25-32b).

Clean Water Project Charge

The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) levies this charge to repay debt associated with its Clean Water Project, a $2.1 billion project mandated by state and federal environmental officials to reduce sewage overflow into the Connecticut River. The charge is based on metered water consumption and is charged to MDC customers who receive both water and sewer services.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

15

Nay

5

(03/18/2016)