Portsmouth water offers one-month grace period on annual bills

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) voted this week to give customers a one-month grace period for paying annual water bills due July 1, the district announced today.

According to a release, PWFD board chair Phil Driscoll indicated that the district has historically given a 15-day grace period for the annual payments, but felt a full month would be more appropriate given the slow economy and the higher water overage charges due to last year’s water rate increase. Driscoll noted that moving the grace period to the end of the monthly billing cycle will also improve the efficiency of processing of late charges.

Driscoll said that with the new meter reading system currently being installed and a planned billing software upgrade, the Board expects to switch to quarterly billing for all customers in the spring of 2013, which should make payments more manageable.

Annual water bills will now be due by 4 p.m. on August 1 to avoid a late charge or interest charge.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd

Czech, Nott, Faerber take Portsmouth Water Board election

With just 185 votes cast, the ratepayers of the Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) elected Ted Czech and Michael Nott as Tax Assesors and Fred Faerber to the position of Tax Collector, according to results of yesterday's election reported by the district.

Faerber had 158 votes in his race, and Czech (150) and Nott (153) both won easily.

The PWFD comprises 12,425 eligible voters.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd

RI bond spares ratepayers cost of new Portsmouth water meters

On June 11, the Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) signed a special "green" $1.3M bond loan with the RI Clean Water Finance Agency (RICWFA) to fund an upgrade to a new town-wide wireless metering system, the PWFD said in a release.

According to Phil Driscoll, chair of the PWFD Board, the bond includes 100% principal forgiveness, which means that the District will not have to pay any interest or repay any of the principal on the ten-year bond. On behalf of the PWFD Board and ratepayers, Driscoll recognized and thanked the Agency executive director, Anthony Simeone for his efforts to help secure this special “green” financing.

The project includes the installation of about two dozen radio collectors and repeaters around town, swapping out 6,500 of the existing meter touch pads on buildings for radio transmitting units, replacing 1,300 meters, and implementing a new leak detection system.

RICWFA provides low-interest loans to improve water quality in the state, and is funding the project out of a 2010 Federal Capitalization Grant, which contained certain requirements for “Green” projects and principal forgiveness. The agency offers principal forgiveness for qualifying projects to help water suppliers meet the “Green” requirement, and determined that the PWFD plan met the critera for 100% principal forgiveness.

Editorial note: Written from a press release. BTW — don't forget to vote in the PWFD elections tomorrow!

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd

Portsmouth Water Board election next Wednesday, June 13

Next Wednesday, June 13, voters in the Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) will go to the polls to elect two Tax Assessors and one Tax collector for three-year terms on the administrative board. Voting takes place at the PWFD office at 1944 East Main Rd from 7am to 8pm — and remember, as now required by state law, you'll need some ID when you vote.

Incumbent Ted Czech and Michael Nott are running for Tax Assessor, and Fred Faerber is running for the Tax Collector’s seat.

This might seem like a low-impact election, but I'd urge you to get out and vote. With win numbers in the 400-500 range, this is the kind of contest where a dedicated group of wingnuts [cough PCC cough] could easily mount a surprise write-in campaign. In fact, the PWFD saw one of the few write-in victories in Portsmouth history back in the 90s, if my sources are correct.

Don't worry, I'll remind you again as we get closer to next Wednesday. But please, mark it on your calendar.

Localblogging, 02871, Elections, pwfd

Portsmouth water holds rates steady for 2012

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) announced today that customers will not see tax or rate increases during the next year, according to a release sent to media this afternoon. A one-year delay in the expected increase in the cost of water from Newport factored into the decision, the PWFD said.

The PWFD had increased the tax rate by three cents per thousand laast year to compensate for the drop in assessed values resulting from the Town's 2010 revaluation. Board chair Phil Driscoll said in the statement that the District’s tax rate in fiscal year 2013 will remain unchanged at $0.18 per thousand dollars of assessed property value.

Despite the good news about this year’s rates, Driscoll cautioned customers that rates are projected to increase by an average of 16.75% for three fiscal years starting in FY-2014 based on current information. These increases will be needed, the PWFD said, to offset wholesale rate increases from the City of Newport, needed to fund the replacement of the Lawton Valley Water Treatment Plant in Portsmouth and an upgrade to the Station One Water Treatment Plant in Newport.

Mr. Driscoll indicated that Newport Water received approval from the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission for the water rate increases necessary to fund the $85 million water treatment plant improvements, an effort that Portsmouth Water has supported.

PWFD General Manger and Chief Engineer William McGlinn said that the treatment plant improvements are required to allow Portsmouth Water, the Navy, and Newport Water to meet new Federal water quality standards, in particular, a reduction on the level of trihalomethanes (TTHMs). The three island water suppliers have been in violation of the TTHM standard at various times over the last twelve years under current Federal standards, which are less stringent than the new standards. TTHMs, which the EPA classifies as a potential carcinogen, are a byproduct formed when the chlorine used in water treatment reacts with organic matter. McGlinn added that the new treatment processes should also do a better job at removing compounds which cause taste and odor, and also enable the three water systems to meet future EPA regulations.

On another note, Driscoll announced that the District’s $1.3 million radio meter-reading project, known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), will be funded through the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency and has been approved as a “green” project eligible for 100% principal forgiveness. Other than upfront bonding costs and fees, the project will not cost the District rate-payers any money, according to Driscoll. This project will allow the District to read water meters on an hourly basis through radio transmissions that are transmitted via the Internet. The meter reading data will allow the District to better track water demand and spot potential leakage.

The AMI project will include a new billing system that will enable the District to bill all customers on a quarterly basis beginning in the spring of 2013. The new billing system will also allow customers to view their water accounts and make payments on-line by bank draft or credit card. Driscoll noted that quarterly water bills and the new billing system should help customers better manage the increasing cost of water.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd

Portsmouth Water schedules main flushing next week

Portsmouth residents will see some temporary water discoloration next week as the Water and Fire District (PWFD) performs their annual flushing, according to an e-mail sent to media today. The flushing will proceed in each neighborhood from 8pm to 6am, and may cause water discoloration and low water pressure. The PWFD advises against washing clothes or drawing hot water during the scheduled operation.

May 14 East Main Road and Middle Road from Crossings Court to Hedly Street. Hedly Street and all side streets, including Industrial Park. Corys Lane and all side streets. Kings Grant and all side streets. West Main Road from Hedly Street to Union Street, including Father Flanagan’s and John Street.

May 15 Middle Road and all side streets to the west, Mill Lane and all side streets, West Passage Drive to Locust Avenue, Stonegate Drive, Greylock Drive, and Greystone Terrace area.

May 16 East Main Road to Middle Road, from Town Hall to Union Street.

May 21 East Main Road from Sherwood Terrace Vanderbilt Lane, east to the Sakonnet River, Union Street, Jepson Lane, and all side streets.

May 22 East Main Road from Lawrence Farms to Sherwood Terrace. Vanderbilt Lane to Sandy Point Avenue and all side streets.

May 23 East Main Road from Union Street to Mitchell Lane and side streets, Oakland Farms, Bramans Lane east to Meadow Lark Lane. Sandy Point Avenue and Sandy Point Farms.

May 24 Wapping Road to Old Mill Lane. Bramans Lane and side streets. Old Mill Lane, Indian Avenue and side streets.

Editorial note: Written from a news release.

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd

Portsmouth Water District advises customers about mail solicitation

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) released a notice to customers today suggesting they carefully examine a mail solicitation from a third-party insurance company which has been hitting mailboxes in town.

If you're in Portsmouth, you'll want to take a look at this PDF.

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd

Construction work on Portsmouth's Bristol Ferry and Terminal roads tomorrow, 11/22

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) will be doing water main work on Bristol Ferry and Terminal Road in Portsmouth tomorrow, November 22, according to a release from the district.

Two lanes of Bristol Ferry Road will be closed for the work from 7am to 7pm, with north and south bound traffic reduced to one lane in each direction, and additional congestion possible due to construction vehicles entering and leaving the area. Motorists are encouraged to seek alternative routes.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd

Portsmouth water main work on Bristol Ferry Road next Mon/Tues

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) will be doing water main work in the area of Bristol Ferry and Terminal Road on Monday, Oct 31 and Tuesday Nov 1 from 7am to 7pm, according to a release.

Two lanes of Bristol Ferry Road will be closed, with north and southbound traffic reduced to one lane in each direction, and the possibility of additional backups from construction vehicles in the area. Motorists are encouraged to seek alternate routes.

According to PWFD, the schedule is subject to weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd

Portsmouth Water District to begin flushing mains tonight through next week

Residents in the Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD) may see discoloration and reduced water pressure over the next week as a required flushing process clears out the water mains in town, the PWFD advised in a notice to local media. Beginning tonight, those in the affected areas should avoid washing clothes or drawing from hot water tanks until any discoloration is cleared, said the PWFD.

The flushing will occur from 8pm to 4am, and water should be clear by mid-day. Here's the schedule:

Tonight, Oct 11: Willow Lane and Sprague Street, Bristol Ferry Road to Camara Drive and Mitchell Road, and side streets.

Tomorrow, Oct 12: Bristol Ferry Road from Cherokee Drive to Bayview Avenue, Boyds Lane to East Main Road and side streets. East Main Road from Sprague Street and Child Street to Boyds Lane and side streets, including Viking Drive area.

Thursday, Oct 13: Island Park and Hummocks Point areas. (Whee, no laundry on Thursday nite!)

Tuesday, Oct 18: Sprague Street to Freeborn Street,Turnpike Avenue and side streets; West Main Road from Statue Way to Sprague Street and side streets.

Wednesday, Oct 19: East Main Road fromChild Street to Clements and Aquidneck Place and side streets to SakonnetRiver. Also Common Fence Point.

Thursday, Oct 20 : Common Fence Point.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Localblogging, 02871, pwfd