Did you buy any Aqua America Inc. (WTR-NYSE) stock today?

Maybe a portfolio rebalance is in order. The stock (WTR) is currently trading at $25.14; down 0.19 with a volume of 153,010 and a dividend of 0.15.

From the Triangle Business Journal dated May 3, 2005: "Aqua America Inc. said Tuesday that its subsidiaries have made three small acquisitions in North Carolina worth about $250,000. The acquisitions were made by Aqua's North Carolina subsidiaries, Cary-based Aqua North Carolina Inc. and Heater Utilities Inc."

And then bits and pieces started flowing (literally) from the spigot.

"The homes north of Interstate 540 are among Wake County's most expensive -- and, this summer, may be among the driest. Because of policies designed to discourage high-density construction near Falls Lake, these neighborhoods are not hooked up to Raleigh's water system. Instead, they get their water from wells."

"The goal was to protect the lake, the city's water supply, from contamination from high-density construction. The remaining county zoning allowed mostly one home per acre and left no provisions for water or sewer. Undeterred, developers built huge homes serviced by private well systems. Many are high-end homes with automatic sprinkler systems that use a lot of water. Adding to the problem, the neighborhoods are beyond the reach of Raleigh's mandatory water conservation measures."

"All concerned point to lawn irrigation systems as the big drain on the system. Sixty to seventy percent of our customers' usage hits the ground before it reaches the house," said Trent Parker, a water quality manager with Aqua North Carolina, the company that runs the community wells that serve 3,700 customers, including Coachman's Trail. The company can ask the state to impose mandatory restrictions for its customers. But asking politely is about all Aqua is willing to do right now, said Tom Roberts, a vice president with Aqua. Shortly after Memorial Day, Aqua had sent out voluntary conservation letters to its customers. The customers have to realize that they control their destiny," Roberts said. On paper, Aqua can handled (sic) demand for the 3,700 customers in what is known as the Bayleaf Master System. But when the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources signs off on connections to community wells, it doesn't account for automatic sprinkler systems. As long as the system can handle 400 gallons a day for each house it passes muster, said Michael Douglas, the Raleigh regional manager for DENR's Division of Environmental Health. But when you add irrigation, it can sometimes more than double that amount, Douglas said. Aqua was able to recharge most of its 847,000-gallon reserves in tanks, which are supplied by underground wells, by June 2. That amount will last only about a day and a half, and heavy irrigation would quickly wipe it out."

With a break in the article, the piece continues with the following in bold type; "Troubled from start"

"The original system was built by Heater Utilities, run by former Wake County commissioner Robert B. Heater, before Aqua took it over in 2006. Problems have plagued the Bayleaf Master System since its inception. In 1985, the system left customers' taps dry for several days. Heater borrowed 150,000 gallons of city water to recharge the reserves for the 835 homes. Last year, private well owners adjacent to some wells used by Aqua accused the company of using more than its share of water."

"Lawns soaked, wells run dry"
News & Observer
June 10, 2007

And here we are again. In today's N&O: "Aqua North Carolina, the state’s largest private water utility, won its third rate increase in six years, along with a new state policy for utility companies: permission to raise water rates without public hearings."

Without public hearings? Seriously? "Current Utilities Commissioner Chairman Edward Finley Jr. represented smaller water utilities in private practice until then-Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to the commission in 2007."

Developers, commissioners, Utility Commission members and those that appointed them. Those that you will vote or have already voted for. And about that Aqua America Inc. dividend. "The Board of Directors of Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE: WTR) declared a quarterly cash dividend payment of $0.152 per share payable on June 1, 2014, to all shareholders of record on May 16, 2014."

Comments

Great minds

http://www.bluenc.com/duke-energy-and-aqua-using-monopoly-power-hold-con...

____________________________________

“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden