New Name Reflects U.S. Roots, Domestic Base
The Board of Directors of Philadelphia Suburban Corporation announced that in October the company will change its name to Aqua America, Inc., to reflect its position as the largest investor-owned water utility based in the U.S. The company will change the names of each of its subsidiaries, now operating in 15 states effective with the company's acquisition on July 31 of the water and wastewater utility operations of AquaSource, Inc., from DQE.
PSC and its subsidiaries will spend the next two months transitioning customers, shareholders and other key constituencies to the new name and logo via comprehensive communications with customers, shareholders, Wall Street and the media prior to and immediately following October 10, the effective date of the new name.
PSC Chairman Nicholas DeBenedictis said that PSC's expansive customer growth (more than 300 percent in the past 10 years) from a regional company in Pennsylvania to a 15-state company weighed heavily in the decision to change the company's name. "We are now the largest U.S.-based investor-owned company, operating in multiple regions of the country and providing water and wastewater service to approximately 2.5 million people. The name Aqua America is perfect for our new expanding footprint in the water utility sector as it clearly states our business focus and demonstrates our position as a large domestic water utility."
As PSC has grown, having a corporate name different than its operating subsidiaries posed another challenge. "Often customers would not make the connection between the parent company and the operating subsidiary," explained DeBenedictis. "We found this to be the case particularly when trying to inform our customers in locations outside of the Philadelphia region about the opportunity to invest in their water company whose name implied an allegiance solely to a specific community in one state. Because our subsidiaries will carry the same name as the parent company it will be much easier to transfer the goodwill of the operating companies to the parent company and vice versa."
PSC now operates in 15 states but announced last spring that it has reached an agreement of sale with Birmingham Utilities, Inc., and Birmingham H2O Services, Inc., wholly-owned subsidiaries of BIW Limited of Ansonia, Conn., to sell the Connecticut and New York AquaSource operations. Because of their pending sale, the names of those operations will remain the same.