BY ROBERT MILLER
Aquarion Water Co. has continued its buying ways, purchasing Rural Water Co. of Bethel, which provides water to about 1,000 customers in Brookfield, New Fairfield, Danbury and Ridgefield through 20 small neighborhood systems.
“We are in a growth mode,” said Bruce Silverstone, Aquarion’s vice president for corporate communications. “We are not a stagnant company.”
Silverstone said he did not know what the water rates for the new customers would be.
The state Department of Public Utility Control would set the rates after it approves the sale, which is expected to become final by the fall, Silverstone said.
He would not reveal the purchase price.
State Department of Public Utility Control spokesman Philip Dukes said his agency has not yet received the filing for the acquisitions.
Steve Polizzi, owner of Rural Water Co., said the transition should be seamless.
“They are a great company,” he said of Aquarion.
Likewise, area leaders were pleased by the purchase.
“It’s good news,” said Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi.
“With an exclamation point,” said Brookfield First Selectman Bill Davidson, who said he’d like to someday see the town served by one water company.
“These small water companies aren’t really public utilities,” he said.
Marconi said the state Department of Public Health wants to consolidate the small companies.
“It’s much easier for them to deal with one company than 25 different systems,” Marconi said.
Marconi and Davidson said Aquarion, which has more than 580,000 customers in the state, has the capital resources to improve water systems that small companies simply cannot supply.
“I’m sure the customers will be pleased as well,” Marconi said.
Polizzi said he has owned Rural Water Co. for the past 26 years, which has been in existence for about 50 years, he said.
Rural Water’s 20 systems serve neighborhoods that aren’t served by municipal water companies. Almost all use neighborhood wells.
“Think of the 1960s,” Polizzi said. “When they started building subdivisions, sometimes there was more of an advantage in building neighborhood water systems rather that individual wells.”
Polizzi praised his customers, saying they represent a true cross section of the Danbury area.
“I have been so tickled to have worked with them over the years,” he said.
However, Polizzi said, when Aquarion approached him about purchasing Rural Water Co., he accepted the deal.
“I just thought it was the right time,” he said.
This is the third purchase of area water companies Bridgeport-based Aquarion has made in the past five months.
In December, Aquarion announced it was buying Topstone Water Co., which serves 1,200 customers in Danbury and Ridgefield.
In January, Aquarion said it would buy four small companies in the Danbury area owned by Water Systems Solutions and Design of Watertown. Those companies have customers in Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown and Washington.
Silverstone also said Aquarion will consider buying other small companies in the area.
“It’s a consolidation,” he said.
Contact Robert Miller
or at 203-731-3345.