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As private water companies continue to acquire more public water systems in Pennsylvania, state lawmakers are scrutinizing a 2016 amendment to the public utility code, also known as Act 12.
The law outlines a negotiating framework to determine the value of a public water system including assets, predicted revenue, and expected repair costs.
State Sen. Katie Muth introduces the panel of residents and advocates. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)
Critics of the law say since its passage, water companies have seized the attention of local officials by dangling massive short-term acquisition prices, buoying a locality’s purse in the short term — but harming the ratepayer in the long run with price hikes and leaving residents disillusioned with the process..
“All the consequences of Act 12 derived from the simple fact that Act 12 has given the green light for private utilities to lure local municipalities into deals that are bad for their residents who are then left to pay the bill,” said Peter Mrozinski, a co-founder of Keep Water Affordable.