The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved an agreement that authorizes St. Louis-based Confluence Rivers Utility Operating Company, Inc. (Confluence Rivers) to purchase substantially all of the water and sewer assets of the Terre Du Lac (TDL) Utilities Corporation.
The agreement approved by the PSC was submitted by Confluence Rivers, TDL Utilities, Staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission, and the Office of the Public Counsel.
The PSC's order will become effective on Feb. 12, allowing the transactions to proceed.
The PSC has also granted Confluence Rivers certificates of convenience and necessity (CCNs) authorizing it to own, operate, manage, and maintain the water and sewer systems it proposed to acquire from TDL Utilities.
"The Commission finds Confluence's acquisition of the Terre Du Lac water and sewer assets is not detrimental to the public interest and will grant Confluence's request for authority to acquire those assets and systems and Terre Du Lac authority to transfer them to Confluence," said the PSC. "The Commission finds that granting Confluence CCNs is necessary or convenient for the public service and will grant Confluence CCNs for the Terre Du Lac service area, subject to the conditions and actions outlined in Staff's Recommendation as modified in the stipulation."
Under the agreement, Confluence Rivers will provide water and sewer service under Terre Du Lac's existing water and sewer rates.
The Staff of the PSC, an entity separate from the Commission itself, concluded that the proposal was economically feasible.
In reaching its conclusion, Staff considered the need to correct several deficiencies in the service Terre Du Lac customers are now receiving and whether those deficiencies could be addressed with TDL Utilities' current rates.
The Staff took into consideration Confluence's proposed improvements for the water system. Staff reviewed the company's general plan to replace the single-cell lagoon and collection sewer with a lift station that will involve the construction of a new electric service, an all-weather access road, and a remote monitoring system.
They also looked at the company's proposed system improvements for the oxidation ditch treatment system, including potentially expanding or replacing the oxidation ditch in its entirety; and proposed improvements for the three-cell lagoon and collection sewer.
The Staff observed that parts of these projects were planned to be completed no later than 18 months following the acquisition closing.
After reviewing all the proposed improvements for the water and sewer systems, it was the Staff's conclusion that adequate revenue is built into existing rates to maintain the drinking water and sewer systems and to retain employees capable of conducting this maintenance.
The Staff noted that Confluence Rivers was not requesting a rate change, determining that the system could be maintained on the current rates.
TDL Utilities serves approximately 1,302 water and sewer customers in St. Francois and Washington counties.
Currently, TDL Utilities customers with 5/8-inch and 3/4-inch meters pay $14.85 per month for water and $19.72 for sewer service.
Customers using one-inch meters pay $37.14 per month for water and $49.29 for sewer service. Those with two-inch meters pay $118.85 per month for water and monthly sewer rates of $157.74.
The usage charge for residents is $1.80 per 1,000 gallons of water used per month.
Both the water and sewer rates became effective on Sept. 29, 2017.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org