Aqua America, Inc., one of the largest US-based, publicly-traded water utilities, is going to transition portions of its larger vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG). Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedict made the announcement before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Alternative Fuel Vehicles forum held at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
As both a former DEP [Department of Environmental Protection] and Economic Development Secretary for the Commonwealth, I believe that the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania will become the biggest economic driver in the state since days of coal and steel. Pennsylvania has always been an energy-rich state with natural gas being its latest form. CNG makes sense economically because of it is less expensive than fossil fuels and environmentally because it is a clean-burning fuel and thereby reduces carbon emissions.—Nicholas DeBenedictis
Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc., the company’s largest subsidiary, has been piloting CNG vehicles for more than a year and has already planned for a slow-fill station at its Springfield Operations Center in Delaware County. Slow-fill stations fuel vehicles over a longer time period, which the company can accommodate because many vehicles are housed at the facility overnight and have longer periods of inactivity during which they can be refueled.
Aqua Pennsylvania plans to begin the transition with its 20 dump trucks and 60 vans initially, as there are not many passenger vehicle opportunities available currently. However, as it begins to turn over its vehicles, those that have original equipment manufacturer (OEM) CNG alternatives, will be transitioned to CNG vehicles.
Aqua America serves almost 3 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, and Georgia.