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Long Island News

Bill That Advances Nassau Water Utility Takeover Passes N.Y. Senate

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The New York state Senate has passed legislation to create a Nassau County Water Authority. This new corporation would provide drinking water to Long Island customers currently receiving it from New York American Water, a private utility provider.

“American Water customers pay some of the highest water rates in the state — and that needs to change,” Senator Todd Kaminsky said. “By setting a path to rate-relief and municipalization, we can save real dollars for Long Islanders, and that is precisely what this bill does.”

Kaminsky said in a joint statement with other Long Island lawmakers that the public takeover of American Water is expected to save Long Island ratepayers tens of millions of dollars a year on their water bills.

A study conducted by the state Department of Public Service concluded that a public takeover would save individual customers an average of $433 a year, with more than half of those savings from making the company tax exempt.

The bill would eliminate American Water’s special franchise taxes, which account for between 31% and over 50% of customers’ bills. Overall, the law is projected to exempt the utility from $29.5 million in special franchise taxes.

“In a modern society, there is no reason why a private company should be profiting off the backs of Nassau residents for access to the most basic human necessity — water,” said Senator Jim Gaughran, the sponsor of the bill. “Public water option is the only viable path forward, and I am proud to have worked in partnership with the community to get rid of for-profit water companies once and for all.”

Senator Kevin Thomas spoke about the collaboration that was required to get the legislation passed.

“All Long Islanders deserve quality, affordable public water. For too long, American Water customers have been burdened with skyrocketing water bills,” Thomas said.