The Public Service Commission is a separate, corporate body, operating the water utility of the town, providing potable water for approximately 3100 customers and the fire protection through hydrants and sprinkler services. Customers exist both in town and in the county.
The Commission has five members, appointed by Council, who guide the Commission in accordance with regulations established by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. Operating through the financial department, office staff arrange for connections, disconnections, meter readings, and water billing, etc. Through the Engineering Department, operators assume responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the system to provide a safe quality product. The Public Works Department is responsible for the work of maintaining and repairing watermains, dams, reservoirs, pump houses, building services, and all other infrastructure associated with the utility.
The Commission employs five water operators who operate under the direction of the Chief Operator. Although not directly employed by the Commission, portions of the salaries and benefits for 12 positions in the administration department and 10 positions in the engineering/ municipal works department are charged to the Public Service Commission.
The annual operation and maintenance budget of the Public Service Commission is approximately $2,400,000, including depreciation, taxes and debt charges. Capital budgets for the Commission can range from $100,000 to $1 Million per year, depending on the nature of the capital works.
The cost for the administration, accounting, operation and maintenance of the water utility, as well as the cost of all new capital works, is paid by the water bills. Accordingly, the Public Service Commission is run as any other utility where the costs of services are paid for by the user.
The Public Service Commission establishes the water rate that must be charged to ensure the provision of service and to allow for future expansion or upgrading. These rates must be then submitted to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board at which time a public hearing is held, and after all submissions are heard, the final decision for the rate is made by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
The Town of Bridgewater is blessed with an excellent water supply, located in the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, and through proper operation and management, will serve citizens of the town of Bridgewater future needs in a very cost-effective manner. The ample water supply is one reason why Bridgewater remains very attractive as a future growth area.