Aqua Pennsylvania (Aqua) officials said they have been able to serve all of their customers despite the storm by maintaining water treatment and distribution facilities using emergency generators.
Aqua Pennsylvania President Steve Tagert said the company’s Crum Creek and Ridley treatment plants in Delaware County, its Neshaminy treatment plant in Bucks County and its Ingram’s Mill treatment plant in Chester County are all running on generators. In addition, the company’s Bryn Mawr headquarters, three operations’ centers and numerous well and booster stations are also off the power grid, using generator power.
“We’re fortunate that our facilities have alternative power sources to use during times like this when our power partners are faced with significant challenges like those brought on by the ice storm,” said Tagert. “Our customers are benefitting today from investments we decided to make to help ensure that we can continue to operate during times like this. Most customers aren’t even aware that we are without traditional power because of the back-up generators, without which many customers could possibly have lost water pressure.” Tagert said while there are no absolute fail safes when it comes to significant weather events, the company’s proactive planning, which includes 170 million gallons of storage capacity, has allowed its customers the benefit of continued service during the region’s first major ice storm of 2014. He said the same was true during Hurricane Sandy.
In addition to using its generators to maintain service during unavoidable power outages like those that have hindered the region over the last several hours, Aqua participates in the regional electric grid operator’s, PJM, electricity demand response program. This program provides a company or institution a way to lower its electric costs by reducing its electric demand on the grid during key high-demand periods when the price of wholesale electricity skyrockets. As an added bonus of participating in the demand response program, Aqua has been able to realize a net positive to its annual electricity budget of more than $500,000.