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CTWS > SEC Filings for CTWS > Form 10-Q on 8-Aug-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for CONNECTICUT WATER SERVICE INC / CT

Form 10-Q for CONNECTICUT WATER SERVICE INC / CT


8-Aug-2014

Quarterly Report

Part I, Item 2: Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and
Results of Operations

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the accompanying unaudited financial statements and related notes thereto and the audited financial statements and the notes thereto contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013.

General Information

Regulated Companies

The Connecticut Water Company ("Connecticut Water") and The Maine Water Company ("Maine Water"), the Company's regulated operating subsidiaries, derive their rights and franchises to operate from special state acts that are subject to alteration, amendment or repeal by their respective state legislatures and do not grant us exclusive rights to our service areas. Our franchises are free from burdensome restrictions, are unlimited as to time, and authorize us to sell potable water in all the towns we now serve. There is the possibility that either the State of Connecticut or the State of Maine could attempt to revoke our franchises and allow a governmental entity to take over some or all of our systems. While we would vigorously oppose any such attempts, from time to time such legislation is contemplated.

The rates we charge our Connecticut water customers are established under the jurisdiction of and are approved by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority ("PURA"). It is our policy to seek rate relief as necessary to enable us to achieve an adequate rate of return. Connecticut Water's allowed return on equity and return on rate base, effective June 30, 2014 are 9.75% and 7.32%, respectively.

On January 25, 2013, Connecticut Water filed a Water Infrastructure Conservation Adjustment ("WICA") application with the PURA requesting an additional 1.08% surcharge to customer bills related to approximately $6.5 million spending on WICA projects. This application also reduced the surcharge by 0.09% for the prior year reconciliation adjustment which expired April 1, 2013. On January 30, 2013, Connecticut Water filed for a 0.10% reconciliation adjustment for the 2012 shortfall in WICA, to become effective April 1, 2013. On March 25, 2013, the PURA approved an additional 1.06% surcharge, effective April 1, 2013. Additionally, on March 27, 2013, the PURA approved a 0.10% reconciliation adjustment, effective April 1, 2013. As of April 1, 2013, Connecticut Water's cumulative WICA surcharge was 6.80%.

On July 25, 2013, Connecticut Water filed a WICA application with the PURA requesting an additional 1.09% surcharge to customers' bills, representing approximately $5.6 million in WICA related projects. On September 18, 2013 the PURA approved the 1.09% surcharge with the new rates becoming effective on October 1, 2013. As of October 1, 2013, the cumulative WICA surcharge was 7.89%.

Effective April 1, 2014, in accordance with a settlement agreement with the Office of the Consumer Counsel of the State of Connecticut and the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, discussed below, Connecticut Water's cumulative WICA surcharge of 7.89% was rolled into base rates charged to customers.

On July 29, 2014, Connecticut Water filed a WICA application with the PURA requesting a 1.59% surcharge to customers' bills, representing approximately $12.7 million in WICA related projects. Connecticut Water expects the PURA to issue a decision on the WICA application during the third quarter of 2014 with the new rates becoming effective on October 1, 2014.

On June 5, 2013, the Connecticut's General Assembly passed Public Act 13-78, "An Act Concerning Water Infrastructure and Conservation, Municipal Reporting Requirements and Unpaid Utility Accounts at Multi-Family Dwellings" ("PA 13-78"), which authorized a Water Revenue Adjustment ("WRA") to reconcile actual water demands with the demands projected in the last general rate case and allows companies to adjust rates as necessary to recover the revenues approved by PURA in the last general rate case. The WRA removes the financial disincentive for water utilities to develop and implement effective water conservation programs. The WRA allows water companies to defer on the balance sheet, as a regulatory asset or liability, for later collection from or crediting to customers the amount by which actual revenues deviate from the revenues allowed in the most recent general rate proceedings, including WICA proceedings. Additionally, PA 13-78 raised the cap for WICA charges to 10%, from 7.5%, between general rate cases and expands the eligible projects to include energy conservation projects, improvements required to comply with streamflow regulations, and improvements to acquired systems.

On June 28, 2013, Connecticut Water entered into a settlement agreement with the Office of the Consumer Counsel of the State of Connecticut and the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut (the "Settlement Agreement"), whereby Connecticut Water would adjust the water rates charged to its customers effective April 1, 2014 in accordance with the elements of the Settlement Agreement (the "Connecticut Water Rate Reduction Plan"). On July 1, 2013, Connecticut Water submitted an


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application to the PURA seeking formal approval of the Settlement Agreement.

The Settlement Agreement contemplates that Connecticut Water would adopt regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") that allows the Company to adopt an alternative method for determining how expenditures related to tangible property can be treated for federal tax purposes for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2012. This tax accounting method change treats certain expenditures that the Company historically capitalized for tax purposes, as a deductible repair expense on its tax return. The adoption of the tax accounting method change allows Connecticut Water to record a favorable "catch up adjustment" on the Company's consolidated 2012 federal tax return which was filed in September 2013. The Company filed for a tax refund of approximately $13.6 million by carrying back the net operating loss generated from this adjustment.

The Settlement Agreement includes, as a result of negotiated compromise of the parties' respective positions, the following key elements related to the Connecticut Water Rate Reduction Plan:

1) Connecticut Water crediting its water customers with the amount of the catch up adjustment plus the amount by which 2012 federal income taxes are reduced by the repair deduction (the deduction amount filed on the Company's 2012 federal tax return was approximately $45 million) that would be offset in whole or in part by an anticipated rate increase arising from the WRA authorized by the State of Connecticut in Public Act No. 13-78 with any associated net change in rates reflected on Connecticut Water customers' bills as of April 1, 2014;

2) Resetting Connecticut Water's adjustment under Connecticut's WICA mechanism to zero by integrating the present WICA surcharge of 7.89% into Connecticut Water's base rates; and

3) Connecticut Water agreeing not to file for a general rate increase (except under extraordinary circumstances outside Connecticut Water's control) for new rates to be effective any sooner than October 1, 2015.

In the Settlement Agreement, the parties also requested that PURA approve an accounting treatment for Connecticut Water to: 1) allow for the deferral of the tax refund described above and a credit of the tax benefit to customers over a proposed two-year period through a credit on water bills issued which started on April 1, 2014 and 2) as discussed above, use the WRA to defer on the balance sheet as a regulatory asset or liability, for later collection from or crediting to customers of the amount by which actual revenues deviate from the revenues allowed in Connecticut Water's most recent general rate proceedings, including WICA proceedings.

On August 30, 2013, the PURA issued a final decision approving the Settlement Agreement. Connecticut Water began to issue a credit on customers' bills of approximately 8.5% on April 1, 2014, related to the repair deduction. Additionally, Connecticut Water began adding an approximate 4.5% surcharge to customer bills related to the WRA for a net surcredit of approximately 4.0%.

Connecticut Water's allowed revenues for the six months ended June 30, 2014, as approved by PURA during our 2010 general rate case and including subsequently approved WICA surcharges, are approximately $35.6 million. Through normal billing for the six months ended June 30, 2014, revenue for Connecticut Water would have been approximately $32.8 million had the WRA not been implemented. As a result of the implementation of the WRA, Connecticut Water recorded $2.8 million in additional revenue for the six months ended June 30, 2014.

The rates we charge our Maine water customers are established under the jurisdiction of and are approved by the Maine Public Utility Commission ("MPUC"). It is our policy to seek rate relief as necessary to enable us to achieve an adequate rate of return. Maine Water's average allowed return on equity and return on rate base, effective June 30, 2014 were 9.50% and 7.96%, respectively. On September 3, 2013, an application was filed with the MPUC to merge Maine Water and the Biddeford & Saco Water Company ("BSWC"), with Maine Water as the surviving entity. This application was approved by the MPUC and BSWC was merged with and into Maine Water effective January 1, 2014.

In April 2013, Maine Water filed for rate increases in three of its divisions, totaling approximately $94,000 in additional revenue, driven primarily by declining consumption and small expense increases. On July 9, 2013, the MPUC approved rate increases totaling $88,000 for these divisions, to be effective July 1, 2013. In June 2013, Maine Water filed for rate increases in three additional divisions, totaling approximately $554,000 in additional revenue, driven primarily by capital expenditures, declining consumption and small expense increases. Two of these cases were approved by the MPUC with additional annual revenue of $90,000 effective November 1, 2013. The remaining case, was approved by the MPUC during the first quarter of 2014 and approved an annual increase of $340,000, effective March 25, 2014.


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Effective June 2013, a Water Infrastructure Charge ("WISC") became available in Maine that allows for expedited recovery of investment in water system infrastructure replacement, both treatment and distribution. Because the MPUC sets rates for Maine Water on a division-by-division basis, the WISC must be implemented in the same manner. To date in 2014, Maine Water has implemented a WISC in two of its divisions with expected annual revenue totaling $120,000, with plans to implement additional WISCs in most of the remaining divisions by the end of 2014. Additionally, Maine Water currently intends to file for a general rate increase for its BSWC division in the third quarter of 2014.

UCONN and Town of Mansfield Water Supply Agreements

Beginning in June 2011, the University of Connecticut ("UCONN"), in partnership with the Town of Mansfield, initiated a process to identify and implement actions to secure a long-term water solution to meet the water supply needs for UCONN and the Town of Mansfield. On June 7, 2013, Connecticut Water submitted information to UCONN and the Town on its proposal to bring a reliable supply of water to the UCONN's Storrs campus and to residents of Mansfield. Connecticut Water's submission for this project was made as part of the Environmental Impact Evaluation ("EIE") process under the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act.

As detailed in its proposal, Connecticut Water proposed to bring up to 2.2 million gallons of water a day with a water main extension of approximately 5 miles from its water system in the Town of Tolland to Mansfield to meet the UCONN campus and the Town of Mansfield's long term water supply needs. On August 7, 2013, UCONN's Board of Trustees voted to recommend Connecticut Water's proposal. On September 16, 2013, the State's Office of Policy and Management issued their approval of the Record of Decision of the EIE, allowing UCONN to proceed to implement the water supply solution.

UCONN Agreement
Connecticut Water and UCONN negotiated a definitive agreement for Connecticut Water to provide a long-term supply of potable water for UCONN's Storrs campus facilities which was approved by the Board of Trustees at their December 11, 2013 meeting and executed on December 18, 2013. The definitive agreement is consistent with the requirements of the Project's EIE and record of decision, as approved by the Office of Policy and Management that identified the Company as the preferred option to supply UCONN and the Town of Mansfield, Connecticut with up to 2.2 million gallons of water per day over the next 47 years. Connecticut Water will fund a 5-mile pipeline from Tolland and other necessary infrastructure improvements at no cost to UCONN, the Town or the state's taxpayers to serve the area. The Company is responsible for obtaining any required regulatory permits, licenses and approvals to implement the water supply solution, including but not limited to those from PURA, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Department of Public Health. While there are specific timelines and milestones identified in the agreement that provide for the timely completion of the project, the agreement also recognizes that such completion is dependent upon the receipt of certain regulatory approvals. The Company anticipates completing the capital improvements within 18 months of receipt of all required permits and expects that regulatory approvals will be received by the end of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015.

Town of Mansfield Agreement
Connecticut Water and the Town of Mansfield have finalized a definitive written agreement for Connecticut Water to serve the Town of Mansfield community. On January 13, 2014 the Mansfield Town Council voted to authorize the Town Manager to execute the agreement with Connecticut Water and it was signed by the parties on January 21, 2014.

The key provisions of the agreement with the Town of Mansfield are as follows:
Current off-campus customers of UCONN will become customers of Connecticut Water at UCONN's water rates in effect at that time (subject to any state-approved surcharges);

Future water customers in the Town of Mansfield will be served by Connecticut Water at the rates authorized by the PURA;

Connecticut Water will assume responsibility for maintaining, repairing and replacing the off-campus water system serving the Town of Mansfield;

Connecticut Water will make any source or system improvements to meet current and future water supply needs of the area;

A Water System Advisory Committee ("WASC") will be created with representatives of the Town of Mansfield, UCONN, regional representatives and other key stakeholders to advise Connecticut Water regarding water service and the system's operations, expansion or integration as well as recommended best management practices, including water conservation programs. The WSAC has been established and its first meeting was held on July 30, 2014.


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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The Company maintains its accounting records in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America and as directed by the PURA and the MPUC to which Connecticut Water and Maine Water, respectively, the Company's regulated water utility subsidiaries, are subject. Significant accounting policies employed by the Company, including the use of estimates, were presented in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013.

Critical accounting policies are those that are the most important to the presentation of the Company's financial condition and results of operations. The application of such accounting policies requires management's most difficult, subjective, and complex judgments and involves uncertainties and assumptions. The Company's most critical accounting policies pertain to public utility regulation related to ASC 980 "Regulated Operations", revenue recognition (including the WRA), goodwill impairment, income taxes and accounting for pension and other post-retirement benefit plans. Each of these accounting policies and the application of critical accounting policies and estimates were discussed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Management must use informed judgments and best estimates to properly apply these critical accounting policies. Because of the uncertainty in these estimates, actual results could differ from estimates used in applying the critical accounting policies. The Company is not aware of any reasonably likely events or circumstances which would result in different amounts being reported that would materially affect its financial condition or results of operations.

Outlook

The following modifies and updates the "Outlook" section of the Company's 2013 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013.

The Company's earnings and profitability are primarily dependent upon the sale and distribution of water. In Maine water revenues can be dependent on seasonal weather fluctuations, particularly during the summer months when water demand will vary with rainfall and temperature levels. The Company's earnings and profitability in future years will also depend upon a number of other factors, such as the ability to control our operating costs, customer growth in the Company's core regulated water utility businesses, growth in revenues attributable to non-water sales operations, availability and desirability of land no longer needed for water delivery for land sales, the outcome of the review of the Company's Connecticut state and federal tax filings by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services and the IRS, respectively, and the timing and adequacy of rate relief when requested, from time to time, by our regulated water companies.

The Company expects Net Income from its Water Activities segment to increase in 2014 over 2013 levels, based, in part, on the ability to take advantage of the WISC surcharge in Maine and the continued utilization of WICA in Connecticut, along with modest growth in its Services and Rentals segment.

The Company believes that the factors described above and those described in detail below under the heading "Commitments and Contingencies" below may have significant impact, either alone or in the aggregate, on the Company's earnings and profitability in fiscal years 2014 and beyond. Please also review carefully the risks and uncertainties described in the sections entitled Item 1A - Risk Factors, "Commitments and Contingencies" in Item 7 of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 and the risks and uncertainties described in the "Forward-Looking Information" section below.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

The Company is not aware of demands, events, or uncertainties that will result in a decrease of liquidity or a material change in the mix or relative cost of its capital resources, other than those outlined below.

Borrowing Facilities

The Company entered into a $15 million line of credit agreement with CoBank, ACB ("CoBank"), that is currently scheduled to expire on July 1, 2016. The Company maintains an additional line of credit of $20 million with RBS Citizens, N.A., with an expiration date of June 30, 2015. As of June 30, 2014, the total lines of credit available to the Company was $35.0 million. The Company did not have any Interim Bank Loans Payable at June 30, 2014 and December 31, 2013, respectively. As of June 30, 2014, the Company had $35.0 million in unused lines of credit. Interest expense charged on lines of credit will fluctuate based on market interest rates.


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On March 5, 2013, Connecticut Water and CoBank entered into a Promissory Note and Single Advance Term Loan Supplement to an existing Master Loan Agreement (the "Note") in which CoBank agreed to make an additional Loan to Connecticut Water in an aggregate principal amount of up to $14,550,000, with a maturity date of March 4, 2033. Additionally, the Company entered into an Amendment to the Guarantee dated March 5, 2013 (the "Guarantee Amendment"), pursuant to which the Company agreed to guarantee the payment of certain of Connecticut Water's obligations under the Note pursuant to the same terms of the Guarantee. Connecticut Water used substantially all of the proceeds of the Loans to refinance the 2007 A Series bonds then outstanding.

On June 3, 2013, Maine Water completed the issuance of $1,409,888 aggregate principal amount of its First Mortgage Bonds, Series V, 1.0% due April 1, 2033 (the "Bonds"). The Bonds were issued by Maine Water to the Maine Municipal Bond Bank (the "Bank") and the proceeds of the issuance were loaned (the "Loan") by the Bank to Maine Water pursuant to a Loan Agreement by and between Maine Water and the Bank dated as of June 3, 2013. The proceeds of the Loan are being used by Maine Water to fund various water facilities projects.

Credit Rating

On January 17, 2014, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services ("S&P") affirmed its 'A' corporate credit rating on the Company. Additionally, S&P revised the Company's ratings outlook from negative to stable. The stable outlook recognizes improvements in financial measures achieved through a combination of recovery of investments (including infrastructure surcharges in both Connecticut and Maine and the WRA in Connecticut) as well as a reduction in our debt to equity ratio through the issuance of equity in December 2012 and the repayment of debt.

Stock Plans

The Company offers a dividend reinvestment and stock purchase plan ("DRIP") to all registered shareholders, and to the customers and employees of our regulated water companies, whereby participants can opt to have cash dividends directly reinvested into additional shares of the Company. In August 2011, the Board of Directors approved amendments to the DRIP (effective as of January 1, 2012) that permit the Company to add, at the Company's discretion, an "up to 5.00% purchase price discount" feature to the DRIP which is intended to encourage greater shareholder, customer and employee participation in the DRIP. During the six months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, plan participants invested $886,000 and $797,000, respectively, in additional shares as part of the DRIP.

From 1999 through 2003, the Company issued stock options to certain employees of the Company. No stock options have been issued by the Company since 2003. As of December 31, 2013, the Company no longer had any outstanding stock options. During the six months ended June 30, 2013, no stock options were exercised.

2014 Construction Budget

The Board of Directors approved a $45.6 million construction budget for 2014, net of amounts to be financed by customer advances and contributions in aid of construction. The Company is using and will continue to use a combination of its internally generated funds, remaining proceeds from its December 2012 equity issuance, borrowings under its available lines of credit, and the funds remaining under Connecticut Water's 2011 and Maine Water's 2013 debt issuances to fund the 2014 construction budget.

As the Company looks forward to the remainder of 2014 and 2015, it anticipates continued reinvestment to replace aging infrastructure and to seek recovery through periodic WICA applications in Connecticut and WISC applications in Maine. The total cost of that investment may exceed the amount of internally generated funds. If so, the Company will consider external financing. In order to maintain a balanced capital structure, we would consider both debt and equity issuances.

Results of Operations

Three months ended June 30
Net Income for the three months ended June 30, 2014 increased from the same period in the prior year by $3,180,000 to $7,490,000. Earnings per basic average common share increased by $0.29 to $0.69 during the three months ended June 30, 2014.


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This increase in Net Income is broken down by business segment as follows (in thousands):

    Business Segment        June 30, 2014      June 30, 2013      Increase/(Decrease)
Water Activities           $         7,092    $         3,934    $               3,158
Real Estate Transactions                 -                  -                        -
Services and Rentals                   398                376                       22
Total                      $         7,490    $         4,310    $               3,180

The increase in the Water Activity segment's Net Income was primarily due to the net effects of the variances listed below:

Revenue

Revenue from our water customers increased by $2,914,000, or 12.9%, to $25,459,000 for the three months ended June 30, 2014 when compared to the same period in 2013. The primary reason for the increase in revenues was attributable to the benefit from the implementation of the WRA which allows Connecticut Water to record a revenue adjustment, on a monthly basis, based upon our actual billing compared to approved rates, including WICA surcharges, and also to record a regulatory asset or liability for future collection from or refund to customers. During the three months ended June 30, 2014, the Company recorded approximately $2,686,000 in additional revenue related to the WRA. There were no WRA revenues recorded in the three months ended June 30, 2013. This revenue variance is considered temporary, since the Company booked nine months' worth of WRA revenues in the third quarter of 2013 compared to a monthly basis in 2014. If the Company had recorded WRA revenues monthly throughout 2013, the amount of the WRA would have been $1,851,000 in additional revenues in the three months ended June 30, 2013. Additionally, the Company saw a benefit from increased WICA surcharges, which were rolled into base rates effective April, 1, 2014, in Connecticut and higher rates in certain Maine divisions.

Operation and Maintenance Expense

Operation and Maintenance ("O&M") expense increased by $146,000, or 1.4%, for
the three months ended June 30, 2014 when compared to the same period of 2013.
The following table presents the components of O&M expense (in thousands):

           Expense Components                 June 30, 2014       June 30, 2013       Increase / (Decrease)
Payroll                                     $         3,888     $         3,512     $               376
Customer                                                448                 293                     155
Maintenance                                             824                 672                     152
Water treatment (including chemicals)                   747                 674                      73
Utility costs                                           854                 786                      68
Insurance costs                                         337                 287                      50
. . .
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