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Middlesex Water
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$53.17 16 $875
10-K 2018-12-31 Annual: 2018-12-31
10-Q 2018-09-30 Quarter: 2018-09-30
10-Q 2018-06-30 Quarter: 2018-06-30
10-Q 2018-03-31 Quarter: 2018-03-31
10-K 2017-12-31 Annual: 2017-12-31
10-Q 2017-09-30 Quarter: 2017-09-30
10-Q 2017-06-30 Quarter: 2017-06-30
10-Q 2017-03-31 Quarter: 2017-03-31
10-K 2016-12-31 Annual: 2016-12-31
10-Q 2016-09-30 Quarter: 2016-09-30
10-Q 2016-06-30 Quarter: 2016-06-30
10-Q 2016-03-31 Quarter: 2016-03-31
10-K 2015-12-31 Annual: 2015-12-31
10-Q 2015-09-30 Quarter: 2015-09-30
10-Q 2015-06-30 Quarter: 2015-06-30
10-Q 2015-03-31 Quarter: 2015-03-31
10-K 2014-12-31 Annual: 2014-12-31
10-Q 2014-09-30 Quarter: 2014-09-30
10-Q 2014-06-30 Quarter: 2014-06-30
10-Q 2014-03-31 Quarter: 2014-03-31
10-K 2013-12-31 Annual: 2013-12-31
8-K 2019-03-08 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-29 Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-12-18 Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-02 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-10-29 Exhibits
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8-K 2018-08-02 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-07-26 Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-07-18 Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-24 Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-23 Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-04-25 Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-27 Exhibits
8-K 2018-01-29 Other Events, Exhibits
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GCAP Gain Capital Holdings 208
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BABB BAB 0
MSEX 2018-12-31
Part I
Item 1.Business.
Item 1A.Risk Factors.
Item 1B.Unresolved Staff Comments.
Item 2.Properties.
Item 3.Legal Proceedings.
Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures.
Part II
Item 5.Market for The Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Item 6.Selected Financial Data.
Item 7.Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation.
Item 7A.Qualitative and Quantitative Disclosures About Market Risk.
Item 8.Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
Note 1 - Organization, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Recent Developments
Note 2 - Rate and Regulatory Matters
Note 3 - Income Taxes
Note 4 - Commitments and Contingent Liabilities
Note 5 - Short-Term Borrowings
Note 6 - Capitalization
Note 7 - Employee Benefit Plans
Note 8 - Business Segment Data
Note 9 - Quarterly Data - Unaudited
Item 9.Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.
Item 9A.Controls and Procedures
Item 9B.Other Information.
Part III
Item 10.Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.
Item 11.Executive Compensation.
Item 12.Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.
Item 13.Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.
Item 14.Principal Accounting Fees and Services.
Part IV
Item 15.Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules.
Item 16.Form 10-K Summary.
EX-10.32 ex10-32.htm
EX-21 ex21.htm
EX-23.1 ex23-1.htm
EX-31 ex31.htm
EX-31.1 ex31-1.htm
EX-32 ex32.htm
EX-32.1 ex32-1.htm

Middlesex Water Earnings 2018-12-31

MSEX 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

10-K 1 form10k-21523_msx.htm 10-K

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, DC 20549

 

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

       þ   ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018

OR

       ¨   TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from _________________ to ______________________

Commission File Number     0-422

MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

New Jersey 22-1114430
(State of Incorporation) (IRS employer identification no.)

 

485C Route 1 South, Suite 400, Iselin New Jersey 08830

(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)

(732) 634-1500

(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each Class: Name of each exchange on which registered:
Common Stock, No Par Value The  NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Yes ¨     No þ

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.

Yes ¨     No þ

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.      Yes þ     No ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on their corporate web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrants were required to submit and post such files).      Yes þ     No ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. þ

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12(b)-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer ¨           Accelerated filer þ           Non-accelerated filer ¨

Smaller reporting company ¨                                     Emerging growth company ¨

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).

Yes ¨     No þ

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant at June 30, 2018 was $664,121,962 based on the closing market price of $42.17 per share.

The number of shares outstanding for each of the registrant's classes of common stock, as of February 28, 2019:

Common Stock, No par Value 16,429,308 shares outstanding

 

Documents Incorporated by Reference

Proxy Statement to be filed in connection with the Registrant’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on May 21, 2019, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the end of our 2018 fiscal year, is incorporated by reference into Part III.

 

MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY

FORM 10-K

 

INDEX

    PAGE
Forward-Looking Statements 1
     
PART I 2
Item 1. Business: 2
  Overview 2
  Financial Information 4
  Water Supplies and Contracts 4
  Employees 5
  Competition 5
  Regulation 6
  Seasonality 8
  Management 8
Item 1A. Risk Factors 9
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments 15
Item 2. Properties 15
Item 3. Legal Proceedings 16
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures 16
     
PART II 17
Item 5. Market for the Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities 17
Item 6. Selected Financial Data 19
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 19
Item 7A. Qualitative and Quantitative Disclosure About Market Risk 33
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data 34
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure 63
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures 64
Item 9B. Other Information 64
PART III 65
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance 65
Item 11. Executive Compensation 65
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters 65
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence 65
Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services 65
PART IV 66
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules 66
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary 66
     
Signatures  
Exhibit Index  

 

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain statements contained in this annual report and in the documents incorporated by reference constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933. Middlesex Water Company (the “Company”) intends that these statements be covered by the safe harbors created under those laws. They include, but are not limited to statements as to:

-expected financial condition, performance, prospects and earnings of the Company;
-strategic plans for growth;
-the amount and timing of rate increases and other regulatory matters, including the recovery of certain costs recorded as regulatory assets;
-the Company’s expected liquidity needs during the upcoming fiscal year and beyond and the sources and availability of funds to meet its liquidity needs;
-expected customer rates, consumption volumes, service fees, revenues, margins, expenses and operating results;
-financial projections;
-the expected amount of cash contributions to fund the Company’s retirement benefit plans, anticipated discount rates and rates of return on plan assets;
-the ability of the Company to pay dividends;
-the Company’s compliance with environmental laws and regulations and estimations of the materiality of any related costs;
-the safety and reliability of the Company’s equipment, facilities and operations;
-the Company’s plans to renew municipal franchises and consents in the territories it serves;
-trends; and
-the availability and quality of our water supply.

These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results and outcomes include, but are not limited to:

-effects of general economic conditions;
-increases in competition for growth in non-franchised markets to be potentially served by the Company;
-ability of the Company to adequately control selected operating expenses which are necessary to maintain safe and proper utility services, and which may be beyond the company’s control;
-availability of adequate supplies of water;
-actions taken by government regulators, including decisions on rate increase requests;
-new or modified water quality standards;
-weather variations and other natural phenomena impacting utility operations;
-financial and operating risks associated with acquisitions and, or privatizations;
-acts of war or terrorism;
-changes in the pace of housing development;
-availability and cost of capital resources; and
-other factors discussed elsewhere in this annual report.

 

Many of these factors are beyond the Company’s ability to control or predict. Given these uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which only speak to the Company’s understanding as of the date of this report. The Company does not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this annual report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.

 

For an additional discussion of factors that may affect the Company’s business and results of operations, see Item 1A - Risk Factors.

1 

PART I

Item 1.Business.

Overview

 

Middlesex Water Company (Middlesex) was incorporated as a water utility company in 1897 and owns and operates regulated water utility and wastewater systems in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Middlesex also operates water and wastewater systems under contract on behalf of municipal and private clients in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

 

The terms “the Company,” “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Middlesex Water Company and its subsidiaries, including Tidewater Utilities, Inc. (Tidewater) and Tidewater’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, Southern Shores Water Company, LLC (Southern Shores) and White Marsh Environmental Systems, Inc. (White Marsh). The Company’s other subsidiaries are Pinelands Water Company (Pinelands Water) and Pinelands Wastewater Company (Pinelands Wastewater) (collectively, Pinelands), Utility Service Affiliates, Inc. (USA), Utility Service Affiliates (Perth Amboy) Inc., (USA-PA), Tidewater Environmental Services, Inc. (TESI) and Twin Lakes Utilities, Inc. (Twin Lakes).

 

The Company’s principal executive offices are located at 485C Route 1 South, Suite 400, Iselin, New Jersey 08830. Our telephone number is (732) 634-1500. Our website address is http://www.middlesexwater.com. We make available, free of charge through our website, reports and amendments filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC).

 

Middlesex System

 

The Middlesex System in New Jersey provides water services to approximately 61,000 retail customers, primarily in eastern Middlesex County, New Jersey and provides water under wholesale contracts to the City of Rahway, Townships of Edison and Marlboro, the Borough of Highland Park and the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority. The Middlesex System treats, stores and distributes water for residential, commercial, industrial and fire protection purposes. The Middlesex System also provides water treatment and pumping services to the Township of East Brunswick under contract. The amount of water supply allocated to the Township of East Brunswick is granted directly to the Township by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. The Middlesex System produced approximately 59% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues.

 

The Middlesex System’s retail customers are located in an area of approximately 55 square miles in Woodbridge Township, the City of South Amboy, the Boroughs of Metuchen and Carteret, portions of the Township of Edison and the Borough of South Plainfield, all in Middlesex County and a portion of the Township of Clark in Union County. Retail customers include a mix of residential customers, large industrial concerns and commercial and light industrial facilities. These customers are located in generally well-developed areas of central New Jersey.

 

The contract customers of the Middlesex System comprise an area of approximately 110 square miles with a population of approximately 219,000. Contract sales to the Townships of Edison and Marlboro, the City of Rahway and the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority are supplemental to the water systems owned and operated by these customers. Middlesex is the sole source of water for the Borough of Highland Park and the Township of East Brunswick.

 

Middlesex provides water service to approximately 300 customers in Cumberland County, New Jersey. This system is referred to as Bayview, and is not physically interconnected with the Middlesex System. Bayview produced less than 1% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues.

 

2 

 

Tidewater System

 

Tidewater, together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Southern Shores, provides water services to approximately 47,000 retail customers for residential, commercial and fire protection purposes in approximately 415 separate communities in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties, Delaware. White Marsh is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tidewater that is unregulated as to rates and operates or maintains more than 55 water and/or wastewater systems under contracts that serve approximately 4,000 residential customers. White Marsh owns two commercial properties that are leased to Tidewater as its administrative office campus and its field operations center. The Tidewater System produced approximately 28% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues.

 

Utility Service Affiliates-Perth Amboy

 

USA-PA continues to operate the City of Perth Amboy, New Jersey’s (Perth Amboy) water and wastewater systems under a 10-year agreement, which expires in December 2028. USA-PA previously operated Perth Amboy’s systems under a 20-year agreement which expired December 31, 2018. Under the new agreement, USA-PA no longer manages the billing, collections and customer service functions of Perth Amboy. There are approximately 12,000 customers comprised of residential, commercial and industrial connections, most of which are served by both the water and wastewater systems. In addition to performing day-to day operations, USA-PA is also responsible for emergency responses and management of capital projects funded by Perth Amboy. USA-PA produced approximately 8% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues.

 

Pinelands System

 

Pinelands Water provides water services to approximately 2,500 residential customers in Burlington County, New Jersey. Pinelands Water produced less than 1% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues. Pinelands Water is not physically interconnected with the Middlesex System.

 

Pinelands Wastewater provides wastewater collection and treatment services to approximately 2,500 residential customers. Under contract, it also services one municipal wastewater system in Burlington County, New Jersey with approximately 200 residential customers. Pinelands Wastewater produced approximately 1% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues.

 

Utility Service Affiliates, Inc.

 

USA operates the Borough of Avalon, New Jersey’s (Avalon) water utility, sewer utility and storm water system under a ten-year operations and maintenance contract expiring in 2022. USA serves approximately 6,300 Avalon homes and businesses, most of which are served by both the water system and wastewater collection system. In addition to performing day-to-day operations, USA is responsible for billing, collections, customer service, emergency responses and management of capital projects funded by Avalon.

 

USA also provides unregulated water and wastewater services under contract with several other smaller New Jersey municipalities.

 

Under a marketing agreement with HomeServe USA (HomeServe), USA offers residential customers in New Jersey and Delaware various water and wastewater related home maintenance programs. HomeServe is a leading national provider of such home maintenance service programs. USA receives a service fee for the billing, cash collection and other administrative matters associated with HomeServe’s service contracts. The agreement expires in 2021.

 

USA produced approximately 2% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues.

 

TESI System

 

TESI provides wastewater collection and treatment services to approximately 3,600 residential customers in Sussex County, Delaware. TESI produced approximately 2% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues.

3 

Twin Lakes System

 

Twin Lakes provides water services to approximately 120 residential customers in Shohola, Pennsylvania. Twin Lakes produced less than 1% of our 2018 consolidated operating revenues.

 

Financial Information

 

Consolidated operating revenues, operating income and net income are as follows:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars) 
   Years Ended December 31, 
   2018   2017   2016 
             
Operating Revenues  $138,077   $130,775   $132,906 
                
Operating Income  $37,142   $37,798   $40,302 
                
Net Income  $32,452   $22,809   $22,742 

 

Operating revenues were earned from the following sources:

 

   Years Ended December 31, 
   2018   2017   2016 
             
Residential   50.5%   50.8%   50.3%
Commercial   10.7    10.7    10.7 
Industrial   7.4    7.1    7.2 
Fire Protection   8.8    9.0    8.8 
Contract Sales   10.6    10.4    11.6 
Contract Operations   11.9    11.9    11.3 
Other   0.1    0.1    0.1 
Total   100.0%   100.0%   100.0%

 

Water Supplies and Contracts

 

Our New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania water supply systems are physically separate and are not interconnected. In New Jersey, the Pinelands System and Bayview System are not interconnected with the Middlesex System or each other. We believe we have adequate sources of water supply to meet the current service requirements of our present customers in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

 

Middlesex System

 

Our Middlesex System, which produced approximately 13.5 billion gallons in 2018, obtains water from surface sources and wells (groundwater sources). In 2018, surface sources of water provided approximately 69% of the Middlesex System’s water supply, groundwater sources provided approximately 22% from 31 wells and the balance was purchased from a non-affiliated water utility regulated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (the NJBPU) under an agreement which expires February 27, 2021. This agreement provides for minimum purchases of 3.0 million gallons per day (mgd) of treated water with provisions for additional purchases. The Middlesex System’s distribution storage facilities are used to supply water to customers at times of peak demand, outages and emergencies.

 

The principal source of surface water for the Middlesex System is the Delaware & Raritan Canal, which is owned by the State of New Jersey and operated as a water resource by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA). Middlesex is under contract with the NJWSA, which expires November 30, 2023, and provides for average purchases of 27.0 mgd of untreated water from the Delaware & Raritan Canal, augmented by the Round Valley/Spruce Run Reservoir System. The untreated surface water is pumped to, and treated at, the Middlesex Carl J. Olsen (CJO) Water Treatment Plant.

 

4 

Tidewater System

 

Our Tidewater System produced approximately 2.3 billion gallons in 2018, primarily from 159 wells. Tidewater expects to submit applications to Delaware regulatory authorities for the approval of additional wells as growth, customer demand and water quality warrant. Tidewater augments its water production with annual minimum purchases of 15.0 million gallons of treated water under contract from the City of Dover, Delaware. Tidewater does not have a central water treatment facility for the nearly 415 separate communities it serves. As the number has grown, many of Tidewater’s individual systems have been interconnected, forming several regional systems that are served by multiple water treatment facilities. 

 

Pinelands Water System

 

Water supply to our Pinelands Water System is derived from four wells which produced approximately 133.1 million gallons in 2018. The aggregate pumping capacity of the four wells is 2.2 mgd.

 

Pinelands Wastewater System

 

The Pinelands Wastewater System discharges into the South Branch of the Rancocas Creek through a tertiary treatment plant that provides clarification, sedimentation, filtration and disinfection. The total capacity of the plant is 0.5 mgd, and the system treated approximately 101.9 million gallons in 2018.

 

Bayview System

 

Water supply to Bayview customers is derived from two wells, which produced approximately 6.9 million gallons in 2018.

 

TESI System

 

The TESI System is comprised of seven wastewater treatment systems in Sussex County, Delaware, which are not interconnected. The treatment plants provide clarification, sedimentation, and disinfection. The combined total treatment capacity of the plants is 0.7 mgd. The TESI System treated approximately 116.5 million gallons in 2018.

 

Twin Lakes System

 

Water supply to Twin Lakes’ customers is derived from one well, which produced approximately 15.8 million gallons in 2018.

 

Employees

 

As of December 31, 2018, we had a total of 330 employees. None of our employees are subject to a collective bargaining agreement. We believe our employee relations are positive. Wages and benefits are reviewed annually and are considered competitive within both the industry and the regions where we operate.

 

Competition

 

Our business in our franchised service areas is substantially free from direct competition with other public utilities, municipalities and other entities. However, our ability to provide contract water supply and wastewater services and operations and maintenance services that are not under the jurisdiction of a state public utility commission is subject to competition from other public utilities, municipalities and other entities. Although Tidewater and TESI have been granted exclusive franchises for each of their existing community water and wastewater systems, their ability to expand service areas can be affected by the Delaware Public Service Commission awarding franchises to other regulated water and wastewater utilities with whom we compete for such franchises and for projects.

 

5 

Regulation

      

Our rates charged to customers for water and wastewater services, the quality of the services we provide and certain other matters are regulated by the following state utility commissions (collectively, the Utility Commissions):

·NJBPU
·Delaware-Delaware Public Service Commission (DEPSC)
·Pennsylvania-Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PAPUC)

 

Our USA, USA-PA and White Marsh subsidiaries are not regulated public utilities as related to rates and service quality. However, they are subject to federal and state environmental regulations with respect to water quality and wastewater effluent quality to the extent such services are provided.

 

We are subject to environmental and water quality regulation by the following regulatory agencies (collectively, the Government Environmental Regulatory Agencies):

·United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
·New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) with respect to operations in New Jersey
·Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services-Division of Public Health (DEDPH), and the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) with respect to operations in Delaware
·Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) with respect to operations in Pennsylvania

 

In addition, our issuances of equity securities are subject to the prior approval of the NJBPU and require registration with the SEC. Our issuances of long-term debt securities are subject to the prior approval of the appropriate Utility Commissions.

 

Regulation of Rates and Services

 

For regulated rate setting purposes, we account separately for operations in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania to facilitate independent rate setting by the applicable Utility Commissions.

 

In determining our regulated utility rates, the respective Utility Commissions consider the revenue, expenses, rate base of property used and useful in providing service to the public and a fair rate of return on investments within their separate jurisdictions. Rate determinations by the respective Utility Commissions do not guarantee achievement to us of specific rates of return for our New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania regulated utility operations. Thus, we may not achieve the stated rates of return authorized by the Utility Commissions. In addition, there can be no assurance that any future rate increases will be granted or, if granted, that they will be in the amounts requested.

 

Middlesex Rate Matters

 

In March 2018, Middlesex’s petition to the NJBPU seeking permission to increase its base water rates was concluded, based on a negotiated settlement, resulting in an increase in annual operating revenues of $5.5 million. In its initial October 2017 filing with the NJBPU, Middlesex had sought an increase of $15.3 million to recover costs for capital infrastructure investments Middlesex has made, or has committed to make, to drinking water infrastructure since the prior filing in New Jersey in 2015 as well as increased operations and maintenance costs. During the pendency of this rate matter, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Tax Act) was signed into law. Under the Tax Act the maximum corporate income tax rate was reduced from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018. Because income tax is one of the cost components used to determine a regulated utility’s revenue requirement, Middlesex was able to reduce its original rate increase request by $4.9 million to $10.4 million. The approved base water rates were designed to recover increased operating costs as well as a return on invested capital in rate base of $245.5 million, based on an authorized return on common equity of 9.6%. As part of the settlement, Middlesex received approval for regulatory accounting treatment of accumulated deferred income tax benefits associated with required adoption of tangible property regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The settlement agreement allowed for a four-year amortization period for $28.7 million of deferred income tax benefits as well as immediate and prospective recognition of the tangible property regulations’ tax benefits in future years. The rate increase became effective April 1, 2018.

 

6 

In December 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s petition to establish its Purchased Water Adjustment Clause (PWAC) tariff rate to recover additional annual costs of less than $0.1 million, primarily for the purchase of treated water from a non-affiliated water utility regulated by the NJBPU. A PWAC is a rate mechanism that allows for recovery of increased purchased water costs between base rate case filings. The PWAC is reset to zero once those increased costs are included in base rates. The PWAC tariff rate became effective on January 1, 2019.

 

Tidewater Rate Matters

 

Effective January 1, 2019, Tidewater increased its DEPSC-approved Distribution System Improvement Charge rate, which is expected to generate revenues of approximately $0.2 million annually.

 

In February 2019, Tidewater received approval from the DEPSC to reduce its rates, effective March 1, 2019, to reflect the lower corporate income tax rate enacted by the Tax Act, resulting in a 3.35% rate decrease for certain customer classes.

 

Pinelands Rate Matters

 

In 2016, the NJBPU approved $0.2 million and $0.1 million of increases, respectively, in Pinelands Water and Pinelands Wastewater’s annual base rates. The rate increases were necessitated by capital infrastructure investments by the companies, increased operations and maintenance costs and lower non-fixed fee revenues. The Pinelands Water base water rate increase was phased-in between 2016 and 2017.

 

Southern Shores Rate Matters

 

Under the terms of a multi-year DEPSC-approved agreement expiring in 2020, customer rates will increase on January 1st of each year to generate additional annual revenue of $0.1 million with each increase.

 

Twin Lakes Rate Matters

 

In 2016, the PAPUC approved a $0.1 million increase in Twin Lakes’ base water rates. The rate increase was necessitated by capital infrastructure investments Twin Lakes has made, or committed to make, and increased operations and maintenance costs. The rate increase is being phased in with the final phases implemented subsequent to completion of specific utility plant projects.

 

Future Rate Filings

 

Management monitors the need for rate relief for our regulated entities on an ongoing basis. When capital improvements and/or increases in operation and maintenance costs require rate relief, base rate increase requests are expeditiously filed with the respective Utility Commissions.

 

Water and Wastewater Quality and Environmental Regulations

 

Government environmental regulatory agencies regulate our operations in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania with respect to water supply, treatment and distribution systems and the quality of the water.  They also regulate our operations with respect to wastewater collection, treatment and disposal.

 

Regulations relating to water quality require us to perform tests to ensure our water meets state and federal quality requirements. In addition, government environmental regulatory agencies continuously review current regulations governing the limits of certain organic compounds found in the water as byproducts of the treatment process. We participate in industry-related research to identify the various types of technology that might reduce the level of organic, inorganic and synthetic compounds found in water. The cost to water utilities to comply with the proposed water quality standards depends in part on the limits set in the regulations and on the method selected to treat the water to the required standards. We regularly test our water to determine compliance with existing required government environmental regulatory agencies’ water quality standards.

 

7 

Treatment of groundwater in our Middlesex System is by chlorination for primary disinfection purposes. In addition, at certain locations, air stripping is used for removal of volatile organic compounds.

 

Surface water treatment in our Middlesex System is by conventional treatment; coagulation, sedimentation and filtration. The treatment process includes pH adjustment, chlorination for disinfection, and corrosion control for the distribution system.

 

Treatment of groundwater in our Tidewater System is by chlorination for disinfection purposes and, in some cases, pH correction and filtration for nitrate and iron removal and granular activated carbon filtration for organics removal. Chloramination is used for final disinfection at Southern Shores.

 

Treatment of groundwater in the Pinelands Water, Bayview and Twin Lakes Systems (primary disinfection only) is performed at individual well sites.

 

Treatment of wastewater in the Pinelands Wastewater and TESI Systems includes rotating biological contactors. Membrane bioreactors, sequential batch reactors and lagoon treatment coupled with spray irrigation are also utilized in the TESI System.  

 

The NJDEP, DEDPH and PADEP monitor our activities and review the results of water quality tests that are performed for adherence to applicable regulations. Other applicable regulations include the Federal Lead and Copper Rule, the Federal Surface Water Treatment Rule and the Federal Total Coliform Rule and regulations for maximum contaminant levels established for various volatile organic compounds.

 

Seasonality

 

Customer demand for our water during the warmer months is generally greater than other times of the year due primarily to additional consumption of water in connection with irrigation systems, swimming pools, cooling systems and other outside water use. Throughout the year, and particularly during typically warmer months, demand may vary with temperature and rainfall timing and overall levels. In the event that temperatures during the typically warmer months are cooler than normal, or if there is more rainfall than normal, the customer demand for our water may decrease and therefore, adversely affect our revenues.

 

Management

 

This table lists information concerning our executive management team:

Name   Age   Principal Position(s)
Dennis W. Doll   60   President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors
A. Bruce O’Connor   60   Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer
Richard M. Risoldi   62   Senior Vice President-Operations and Chief Operating Officer
Jay L. Kooper   46   Vice President-General Counsel and Secretary
Bernadette M. Sohler   58   Vice President-Corporate Affairs
Lorrie B. Ginegaw   43   Vice President–Human Resources

 

Dennis W. Doll – Mr. Doll joined the Company in 2004 as Executive Vice President and was named President and Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Middlesex effective January 1, 2006. In May 2010, he was elected Chairman of the Board.  He is also Chairman for all subsidiaries of Middlesex.  Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Doll had been employed in various executive leadership roles in the regulated water utility business since 1985. Mr. Doll also serves as a volunteer Director on selected non-profit Boards including The Water Research Foundation (presently Chairman) and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Middlesex County, New Jersey, serving the needs of children living in foster care.

 

8 

A. Bruce O’Connor – Mr. O’Connor, a Certified Public Accountant, joined the Company in 1990 and was named Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 1996, Treasurer in 2014 and Senior Vice President in 2019. In 2019, he was named President of Tidewater, TESI and White Marsh. He is Treasurer and a Director of Tidewater, USA, White Marsh and TESI. He is Vice President, Treasurer and a Director of Pinelands Water, USA-PA, Pinelands Wastewater and Twin Lakes.

 

Richard M. Risoldi – Mr. Risoldi joined the Company in 1989 as Director of Production. He was appointed Assistant Vice President of Operations in 2003. He was named Vice President-Subsidiary Operations in May 2004. In January 2010, he was named Vice President – Operations and Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President – Operations in 2019. He is a Director of Tidewater, White Marsh and TESI. He also serves as a Director and President of Pinelands Water, USA, USA-PA, Pinelands Wastewater and Twin Lakes.

 

Jay L. Kooper – Mr. Kooper joined the Company in March 2014 as Vice President and General Counsel and serves as Secretary for the Company and all subsidiaries. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Kooper held various positions in private and public entities as well as in private law practice, representing electric, gas, water, wastewater, telephone and cable companies as well as municipalities and private clients before 17 state public utility commissions and legislatures, federal agencies and federal and state appellate courts.  Mr. Kooper serves as a volunteer director on selected non-profit utility industry-related Boards including the National Association of Water Companies (current Director and Chairman of the New Jersey Chapter) and the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Public Utility Law Section (current Consultor and Past Chairman) and on other non-profit boards based in New Jersey.

 

Bernadette M. Sohler – Ms. Sohler joined the Company in 1994, was named Director of Communications in 2003 and promoted to Vice President-Corporate Affairs in March 2007. She also serves as Vice President of USA. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Sohler held marketing and public relations management positions in the financial services industry. Ms. Sohler serves as a volunteer director on area Chambers of Commerce and several other non-profit Boards and is the Chair of the New Jersey Utilities Association’s Communications Committee.

 

Lorrie B. Ginegaw – Ms. Ginegaw joined Tidewater in 2004. In September 2005, Ms. Ginegaw was promoted to Human Resources Manager. In May 2007, Ms. Ginegaw was promoted to Director of Human Resources for Middlesex. In March 2012, Ms. Ginegaw was named Vice President-Human Resources. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Ginegaw worked in various human resources positions in the healthcare and transportation/logistics industries. Ms. Ginegaw serves as a volunteer director on the Board of the New Jersey Utilities Association.

 

ITEM 1A.RISK FACTORS.

 

Our revenue and earnings depend on the rates we charge our customers. We cannot raise utility rates in our regulated businesses without filing a petition with the appropriate Utility Commissions. If these agencies modify, delay, or deny our petition, our revenues will not increase and our earnings will decline unless we are able to reduce costs.

 

The NJBPU regulates our public utility companies in New Jersey with respect to rates and charges for service, classification of accounts, awards of new service territory, acquisitions, financings and other matters. That means, for example, that we cannot raise the utility rates we charge to our customers without first filing a petition with the NJBPU and going through a lengthy administrative process. In much the same way, the DEPSC and the PAPUC regulate our public utility companies in Delaware and Pennsylvania, respectively. We cannot give assurance of when we will request approval for any such matter, nor can we predict whether these Utility Commissions will approve, deny or reduce the amount of such requests.

 

9 

Certain costs of doing business are not completely within our control. The failure to obtain any rate increase would prevent us from increasing our revenues and, unless we are able to reduce costs, would result in reduced earnings.

 

General economic conditions may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Adverse economic conditions could negatively impact our customers’ water usage demands, particularly the level of water usage demand by our commercial and industrial customers in our Middlesex System. If water demand by our commercial and industrial customers in our Middlesex System were negatively impacted, our financial condition and results of operations could continue to be negatively impacted.

 

We are subject to environmental laws and regulations, including water quality and wastewater effluent quality regulations, as well as other state and local regulations. Compliance with those laws and regulations requires us to incur costs and we are subject to fines or other sanctions for non-compliance.

 

Government environmental regulatory agencies regulate our operations in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania with respect to water supply, treatment and distribution systems and the quality of water. Government environmental regulatory agencies also regulate our operations in New Jersey and Delaware with respect to wastewater collection, treatment and disposal.

 

Government environmental regulatory agencies’ regulations relating to water quality require us to perform expanded types of testing to ensure that our water meets state and federal water quality requirements. We are subject to EPA regulations under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, which include the Lead and Copper Rule, the maximum contaminant levels established for various volatile organic compounds, the Federal Surface Water Treatment Rule and the Total Coliform Rule. There are also similar NJDEP regulations for our New Jersey water systems. The NJDEP, DEDPH and PADEP monitor our activities and review the results of water quality tests that we perform for adherence to applicable regulations. In addition, Government Environmental Regulatory Agencies are continually reviewing regulations governing the limits of certain organic compounds found in the water as byproducts of treatment.

 

We are also subject to regulations related to fire protection services in New Jersey and Delaware. In New Jersey there is no state-wide fire protection regulatory agency. However, New Jersey regulations exist as to the size of piping required regarding the provision of fire protection services. In Delaware, fire protection is regulated statewide by the Office of State Fire Marshal.

 

The cost of compliance with the water and wastewater effluent quality standards depends in part on the limits set in the regulations and on the method selected to implement them. If new or more restrictive standards are imposed, the cost of compliance could be very high and have an adverse impact on our revenues and results of operations if we cannot recover those costs through our rates that we charge our customers. The cost of compliance with fire protection requirements could also be high and make us less profitable if we cannot recover those costs through our rates charged to our customers.

In addition, if we fail to comply with environmental or other laws and regulations to which our business is subject, we could be fined or subject to other sanctions, which could adversely impact our business or results of operations.

 

We depend upon our ability to raise money in the capital markets to finance some of the costs of complying with laws and regulations, including environmental laws and regulations or to pay for some of the costs of improvements to or the expansion of our utility system assets. Our regulated utility companies cannot issue debt or equity securities without prior regulatory approval.

 

We require financing to fund the ongoing capital program for the improvement in our utility system assets and for planned expansion of those systems. We expect to spend approximately $295 million for capital projects through 2021. We must obtain prior approval from our economic regulators to sell debt or equity securities to raise money for these projects. If sufficient capital is not available, or the cost of capital is too high, or if the regulatory authorities deny a petition of ours to sell debt or equity securities, we may not be able to meet the costs of complying with environmental laws and regulations or the costs of improving and expanding our utility system assets to the level we believe operationally prudent. This may result in the imposition of fines from environmental regulators or restrictions on our operations which could curtail our ability to upgrade or replace utility system assets.

 

10 

We rely on our information technology systems to help manage our operations.

 

Our information technology systems require periodic modifications, upgrades and or replacement which subject us to costs and risks including potential disruption of our internal control structure, substantial capital expenditures, additional administration and operating expenses, retention of sufficiently skilled personnel to implement and operate existing or new systems, and other risks and costs of delays or difficulties in transitioning to new systems or of integrating new systems into our current systems. In addition, challenges implementing new technology systems may cause disruptions in our business operations and have an adverse effect on our business operations, if not anticipated and appropriately mitigated.

 

We rely on our computer, information and communications technology systems in connection with the operation of our business, especially with respect to customer service and billing, accounting and, in some cases, the monitoring and operation of our operating facilities.  Our computer and communications systems and operations could be damaged or interrupted by natural disasters, cyber-attacks, power loss and internet, telecommunications or data network failures or acts of war or terrorism or similar events or disruptions.  Any of these or other events could cause service interruption, delays and loss of critical data or, impede aspects of operations and therefore, adversely affect our financial results.

 

Cyber-attacks on entities around the world have caused operational failures and/or compromised corporate and personal data. Such attacks could result in the loss, or compromise, of customer, financial or operational data, disruption of billing, collections or normal field service activities, disruption of electronic monitoring and control of operational systems and delays in financial reporting and other management functions. Possible impacts associated with a cyber-incident may include remediation costs related to lost, stolen, or compromised data, repairs to data processing systems, increased cyber security protection costs, adverse effects on our compliance with regulatory and environmental laws and regulation, including standards for drinking water, litigation and reputational damage.

 

Weather conditions and overuse of underground aquifers may interfere with our sources of water, demand for water services and our ability to supply water to customers.

 

Our ability to meet current and future water demands of our customers depends on the availability of an adequate supply of water. Unexpected conditions may interfere with our water supply sources. Drought and overuse of underground aquifers may limit the availability of ground and/or surface water. Freezing weather may also contribute to water transmission interruptions caused by water main breakage. Any interruption in our water supply could cause a reduction in our revenue and profitability. These factors may adversely affect our ability to supply water in sufficient quantities to our customers. Governmental drought restrictions may result in decreased customer demand for water services and can adversely affect our revenue and earnings.

 

Our business is subject to seasonal fluctuations, which could affect demand for our water service and our revenues.

 

Demand for our water during the warmer months is generally greater than during cooler months due primarily to additional consumption of water in connection with irrigation systems, swimming pools, cooling systems and other outdoor water use. Throughout the year, and particularly during typically warmer months, demand may vary with temperature and rainfall levels. In the event that temperatures during the typically warmer months are cooler than normal, or if there is more rainfall than normal, the demand for our water may decrease and adversely affect our revenues.

 

11 

Our water sources or water service provided to customers may become contaminated by naturally-occurring or man-made compounds and events. This may cause disruption in services and impose operational and regulatory enforcement costs upon us to restore the water to required levels of quality as well as may damage our reputation and cause private litigation claims against us.

 

Our sources of water or water in our distribution systems may become contaminated by naturally-occurring or man-made compounds or other events. In the event that any portion of our water supply sources or water distribution systems is contaminated, we may need to interrupt service to our customers until we are able to remediate the contamination or substitute the flow of water from an uncontaminated water source through existing interconnections with other water purveyors or through our transmission and distribution systems, where possible. We may also incur significant costs in treating any contaminated water, or remediating the effects on our treatment and distribution systems, through the use of our current treatment facilities, or development of new treatment methods. Our inability to substitute water supply from an uncontaminated water source, or to adequately treat the contaminated water supply in a cost-effective manner, may reduce our revenues and make us less profitable.

 

We may be unable to recover costs associated with treating or decontaminating water supplies through rates, or recovery of these costs may not occur in a timely manner. In addition, we could be subject to claims for damages arising from government enforcement actions or other lawsuits arising out of interruption of service or human exposure to hazardous substances in our drinking water and water supplies. Such costs could adversely affect our financial results.

 

Contamination of the water supply or the water service provided to our customers could result in substantial injury or damage to our customers, employees or others and we could be exposed to substantial claims and litigation, which are inherently subject to uncertainties and are potentially subject to unfavorable rulings. Negative impacts to our profitability and our reputation may occur even if we are not responsible for the contamination or the consequences arising out of human exposure to contamination or hazardous substances in the water or water supplies. Pending or future claims against us could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

 

We face competition from other water and wastewater utilities and service providers which might hinder our growth and reduce our profitability.

 

We face risks of competition from other utilities or other entities authorized by federal, state or local agencies to provide utility services. Once a state utility regulator grants a franchise to a utility to serve a specific territory, that utility effectively has an exclusive right to service that territory. Although a new franchise offers some protection against competitors, the pursuit of franchises is often competitive, particularly in Delaware, where new franchises may be awarded to utilities based upon competitive negotiation. Competing entities have challenged, and may challenge in the future, our applications for new franchises. Also, third parties entering into long-term agreements to operate municipal utility systems may adversely affect our long-term agreements to supply water or wastewater services on a contract basis to municipalities, which could adversely affect our financial results.

 

We have short-term and long-term contractual obligations for water, wastewater and storm water system operation and maintenance under which we may incur costs in excess of payments received.

 

USA-PA operates and maintains the water and wastewater systems of Perth Amboy under a 10-year contract expiring in 2028. USA operates and maintains the water, wastewater and storm water systems of Avalon under a 10-year contract expiring in 2022. These contracts do not protect us against incurring costs in excess of revenues we earn pursuant to the contracts. There can be no absolute assurance that we will not experience losses resulting from these contracts. Losses under these contracts, or our failure or inability to perform or renew such agreements, may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

12 

We serve as guarantor of performance of an unaffiliated company under a contract to operate a leachate pretreatment facility at the Monmouth County Reclamation Center in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.

 

Middlesex entered into agreements, expiring in 2029, with Applied Water Management, Inc. (AWM), Natural Systems Utilities, LLC, (NSU) the parent company of AWM, and the County of Monmouth, New Jersey (County) for the operation of a leachate pretreatment facility at the Monmouth County Reclamation Center in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Under the terms of the agreement, AWM operates the County-owned landfill leachate pretreatment facility. Middlesex is the guarantor of AWM's performance under the agreement (the Guaranty), for which Middlesex earns a fee, in addition to providing operational support if necessary. If asked to perform under the Guaranty, Middlesex could be required to fulfill the remaining operational commitments of AWM. There can be no absolute assurance that we will not experience losses if asked to perform under the Guaranty. Losses from performance under this Guaranty, or our failure or inability to perform, may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. NSU and AWM have indemnified Middlesex for any costs Middlesex may incur in connection with its Guaranty to the County.

 

Capital market conditions and key assumptions may adversely impact the value of our postretirement benefit plan assets and liabilities.

 

Market factors can adversely affect the rate of return on assets held in trusts to satisfy our future postretirement benefit obligations as well negatively affect interest rates, which impacts the discount rates used in the determination of our postretirement benefit actuarial valuations. In addition, changes in demographics, such as increases in life expectancy assumptions, can increase future postretirement benefit obligations. Any negative impact to these factors, either individually or a combination thereof, may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

An element of our growth strategy is the acquisition of water and wastewater assets, operations, contracts or companies. Any pending or future acquisitions we decide to undertake will involve risks.

 

The acquisition and/or operation of water and wastewater systems is an element of our growth strategy. This strategy depends on identifying suitable opportunities and reaching mutually agreeable terms with acquisition candidates or contract parties. Further, acquisitions may result in dilution of our equity securities, incurrence of debt and contingent liabilities, fluctuations in quarterly results and other related expenses. In addition, the assets, operations, contracts or companies we acquire may not achieve the revenues and profitability expected.

 

The current concentration of our business in central New Jersey and Delaware makes us susceptible to adverse development in local regulatory, economic, demographic, competitive and weather conditions.

 

Our New Jersey water and wastewater businesses provide services to customers who are located primarily in eastern Middlesex County, New Jersey. Water service is provided under wholesale contracts to the Townships of Edison, East Brunswick and Marlboro, the Borough of Highland Park, the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority, and the City of Rahway. We also provide water and wastewater services to customers in the State of Delaware. Our revenues and operating results are therefore subject to local regulatory, economic, demographic, competitive and weather conditions in a relatively concentrated geographic area. A change in any of these conditions could make it more costly for us to conduct our business.

 

The necessity for ongoing security has resulted, and may continue to result, in increased operating costs.

 

Because of physical and operational threats to the health and security of the United States of America, we employ procedures to review and modify, as necessary, physical and other security measures at our facilities. We provide ongoing training and communications to our employees about threats to our water supply, our assets and related systems and our employees’ personal safety. We have incurred, and will continue to incur, costs for security measures to protect against such risks.

 

13 

Our ability to achieve organic customer growth in our market area is dependent on the residential building market. New housing starts are one element that impacts our rate of growth and therefore, may not meet our expectations.

 

We expect our revenues to increase from customer growth for our regulated water and wastewater operations as a result of anticipated construction and sale of new housing units. If housing starts decline, or do not increase as we have projected, as a result of economic conditions or otherwise, the timing and extent of our organic revenue growth may not meet our expectations, our deferred project costs may not produce revenue-generating projects in the timeframes anticipated and our financial results could be negatively impacted.

 

There can be no assurance we will continue to pay dividends in the future or, if dividends are paid, that they will be in amounts similar to past dividends.

 

We have paid dividends on our common stock each year since 1912 and have increased the amount of dividends paid each year since 1973. Our earnings, financial condition, capital requirements, applicable regulations and other factors, including the timeliness and adequacy of rate increases, will determine both our ability to pay dividends and the amount of those dividends. There can be no assurance that we will continue to pay dividends in the future or, if dividends are paid, that they will be in amounts similar to past dividends.

 

If we are unable to pay the principal and interest on our indebtedness as it comes due or we default under certain other provisions of our loan documents, our indebtedness could be accelerated and our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

 

Our ability to pay the principal and interest on our indebtedness as it comes due will depend upon our current and future performance. Our performance is affected by many factors, some of which are beyond our control.

 

We believe cash generated from operations and, if necessary, borrowings under existing credit facilities, will be sufficient to enable us to make our debt payments as they become due. If, however, we do not generate sufficient cash, we may be required to refinance our obligations or sell additional equity, which may be on terms that are less favorable than we desire.

 

No assurance can be given that any refinancing or sale of equity will be possible when needed, or that we will be able to negotiate acceptable terms. In addition, our failure to comply with certain provisions contained in our trust indentures and loan agreements relating to our outstanding indebtedness could lead to a default under these documents, which could result in an acceleration of our indebtedness.

 

We depend significantly on the technical and management services of our senior management team, and the departure of any of those persons could cause our operating results to temporarily be short of our expectations.

 

Our success depends significantly on the continued individual and collective contributions of our senior management team. If we lose the services of any member of our senior management, or are unable to attract and retain qualified senior management personnel, our operating results could be negatively impacted.

 

We are subject to anti-takeover measures that may be used to discourage, delay or prevent changes of control that might benefit non-management shareholders.

 

Subsection 10A of the New Jersey Business Corporation Act, known as the New Jersey Shareholders Protection Act, applies to us. The Shareholders Protection Act deters merger proposals, tender offers or other attempts to effect changes in control that are not approved by our Board of Directors. In addition, we have a classified Board of Directors, which means only a portion of the Director population is elected each year. A classified Board can make it more difficult for an acquirer to gain control of the Company by voting its candidates onto the Board of Directors and may also deter merger proposals and tender offers. Our Board of Directors also has the ability, subject to obtaining NJBPU approval, to issue one or more series of preferred stock having such number of shares, designation, preferences, voting rights, limitations and other rights as the Board of Directors may fix. This could be used by the Board of Directors to discourage, delay or prevent an acquisition that the Board of Directors determines is not in the best interest of the common shareholders.

 

14 

ITEM 1B.UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

 

None.

 

ITEM 2.PROPERTIES.

 

Utility Plant

 

The water utility plant in our systems consists of source of supply, pumping, water treatment, transmission and distribution, general facilities and all appurtenances, including all connecting pipes.

 

The wastewater utility plant in our systems consist of pumping, treatment, collection mains, general facilities and all appurtenances, including all connecting pipes.

 

Middlesex System

 

The Middlesex System’s principal source of surface supply is the Delaware & Raritan Canal owned by the State of New Jersey and operated as a water resource by the NJWSA.

 

Water is withdrawn from the Delaware & Raritan Canal at New Brunswick, New Jersey through our intake and pumping station, located on state-owned land bordering the canal. Water is transported through two raw water pipelines for treatment and distribution at our CJO Water Treatment Plant in Edison, New Jersey.

 

The CJO Water Treatment Plant includes chemical storage and chemical feed equipment, two dual rapid mixing basins, four upflow clarifiers which are also called superpulsators, four underground reinforced chlorine contact tanks, twelve rapid filters containing gravel, sand and anthracite for water treatment and a steel washwater tank. The CJO Water Treatment Plant also includes a computerized Supervisory Control and Data Acquisitions system to monitor and control the CJO Water Treatment Plant and the water supply and distribution system in the Middlesex System. There is an on-site State of New Jersey certified laboratory capable of performing bacteriological, chemical, process control and advanced instrumental chemical sampling and analysis. The firm design capacity of the CJO Water Treatment Plant is 55 mgd (60 mgd maximum capacity). The five electric motor-driven, vertical turbine pumps presently installed have an aggregate capacity of 85 mgd.

 

In addition, there is a 15 mgd auxiliary pumping station located at the CJO Water Treatment Plant location. It has a dedicated substation and emergency power supply provided by a diesel-driven generator. It pumps from the 10 million gallon distribution storage reservoir directly into the distribution system.

 

The transmission and distribution system is comprised of 741 miles of mains and includes 24,300 feet of 48-inch concrete transmission main connecting the CJO Water Treatment Plant to our distribution pipe network and related storage facilities. Also included are a 58,600 foot transmission main and a 38,800 foot transmission main, augmented with a long-term, non-exclusive agreement with East Brunswick to transport water through the East Brunswick system to several of our other contract customers.

 

The Middlesex System’s storage facilities consist of a 10 million gallon reservoir at the CJO Water Treatment Plant, 5 million gallon and 2 million gallon reservoirs in Edison and a 2 million gallon reservoir at the Park Avenue Well Field.

 

In New Jersey, we own the properties on which the Middlesex System’s 31 wells are located, the properties on which our storage tanks are located as well as the property where the CJO Water Treatment Plant is located. We own our operations center located at 1500 Ronson Road, Iselin, New Jersey, consisting of a 27,000 square foot office building, 16,500 square foot maintenance facility and a 1.96 acre equipment and materials storage and staging yard. We lease 29,036 square feet of commercial office space across the street from the Ronson Road complex. The leased space, which is under contract through 2028, is home to our corporate administrative departments including executive, accounting, customer service and billing, engineering, human resources, information technology and legal.

 

15 

Tidewater System

 

The Tidewater System is comprised of 84 production plants that vary in pumping capacity from 46,000 gallons per day to 4.4 mgd. Water is transported to our customers through 765 miles of transmission and distribution mains. Storage facilities include 47 tanks, with an aggregate capacity of 7.9 million gallons. The Delaware office property, located on an eleven-acre parcel owned by White Marsh, consists of two office buildings totaling approximately 17,000 square feet. In addition, Tidewater maintains a field operations center servicing its largest service territory area in Sussex County, Delaware. The operations center is located on a 2.9 acre parcel owned by White Marsh, and consists of two buildings totaling approximately 8,400 square feet.

 

Pinelands Water System

 

Pinelands Water owns well site and storage properties in Southampton Township, New Jersey. The Pinelands Water storage facility is a 1.3 million gallon standpipe. Water is transported to our customers through 18 miles of transmission and distribution mains.

 

Pinelands Wastewater System

 

Pinelands Wastewater owns a 12 acre site on which its 0.5 million gallons per day capacity tertiary treatment plant and connecting pipes are located. Its wastewater collection system is comprised of approximately 24 miles of sewer lines.

 

Bayview System

 

Bayview owns two well sites, which are located in Downe Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Water is transported to its customers through our 4.2 mile distribution system.

 

TESI System

The TESI System is comprised of seven wastewater treatment systems in Southern Delaware. The treatment plants provide clarification, sedimentation, and disinfection. The combined total capacity of the plants is 0.7 mgd. TESI’s wastewater collection system is comprised of approximately 47.1 miles of sewer lines.

 

Twin Lakes System

Twin Lakes owns one operational well site, which is located in the Township of Shohola, Pike County, Pennsylvania. Water is transported to our customers through 3.7 miles of distribution mains.

 

USA-PA, USA and White Marsh

Our non-regulated subsidiaries, namely USA-PA, USA and White Marsh, do not own utility plant property.

 

ITEM 3.LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

 

The Company is a defendant in lawsuits in the normal course of business. We believe the resolution of pending claims and legal proceedings will not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

 

ITEM 4.MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.

 

Not applicable.

 

16 

 

PART II

 

ITEM 5.MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

 

The Company’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, under the symbol MSEX. As of December 31, 2018, there were 1,604 holders of record.

 

The Company has paid dividends on its common stock each year since 1912. The payment of future dividends is contingent upon the future earnings of the Company, its financial condition and other factors deemed relevant by the Board of Directors at its discretion.

 

If four or more quarterly dividends are in arrears, the preferred shareholders, as a class, are entitled to elect two members to the Board of Directors in addition to Directors elected by holders of the common stock. In the event dividends on the preferred stock are in arrears, no dividends may be declared or paid on the common stock of the Company.

 

The Company issues shares of common stock in connection with its Middlesex Water Company Investment Plan (the Investment Plan), a direct share purchase and sale and dividend reinvestment plan for the Company’s common stock. Since the inception of the Investment Plan and its predecessor plan, the Company has periodically replenished the level of authorized shares in the plans. Currently, there are three million shares registered with the SEC under the Investment Plan, of which there remains 0.6 million shares available for potential issuance to participants. The Company raised approximately $1.2 million through the issuance of 26,685 shares under the Investment Plan during 2018. The Company is offering shares of its common stock at a 5% discount to participants in the Investment Plan for purchases made by participants commencing January 2, 2019 which will continue until 200,000 shares are purchased at the discounted price or December 30, 2019, whichever event occurs first.  This offer applies to all common stock purchases made under the Investment Plan, whether by optional cash payment or by dividend reinvestment.    

 

The Company maintains a stock incentive compensation plan for certain management employees (the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan). Shares issued in connection with the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan are subject to forfeiture by the employee in the event of termination of employment within five years of the award other than as a result of normal retirement, death, disability or change in control. The maximum number of shares authorized for grant under the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan is 0.3 million shares, all of which remain available for award under the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan.

 

The Company maintains a stock compensation plan for its outside directors (the Outside Director Stock Compensation Plan). In 2018, 4,004 shares of the Company’s common stock were granted and issued to the Company’s outside directors under the Outside Director Stock Compensation Plan. The maximum number of shares authorized for grant under the Outside Director Stock Compensation Plan is 100,000. Of this total, 60,164 shares remain available for future grants under the Outside Director Stock Compensation Plan.

 

Set forth below is a line graph comparing the yearly change in the cumulative total return (which includes reinvestment of dividends) of a $100 investment for the Company’s common stock, a peer group of investor-owned water utilities, and the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Stock Index for the period of five years commencing December 31, 2013. The Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Stock Index measures the performance of all U.S. headquartered equity securities with readily available price data.

 

17 

 

COMPARISON OF 5 YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN

Among Middlesex Water Company, the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Stock Index and a Peer Group*

 

 

* Peer group includes American States Water Company, Artesian Resources Corp., California Water Service Group, Connecticut Water Service, Inc., SJW Corp., York Water Company and Middlesex.

 

  December 31,
  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Middlesex Water Company 100.00 114.23 135.97 225.22 214.14 292.38
Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Stock Index 100.00 110.57 108.96 120.78 143.69 133.36
Peer Group 100.00 116.92 123.62 176.61 213.69 246.31

 

18 

 

ITEM 6.SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

 

CONSOLIDATED SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
(Thousands Except per Share Data)
                     
   2018   2017   2016   2015   2014 
Operating Revenues  $138,077   $130,775   $132,906   $126,025   $117,139 
Operating Expenses:                         
   Operations and Maintenance   71,570    65,490    65,864    64,759    60,572 
   Depreciation   15,037    13,922    12,796    12,051    11,444 
   Other Taxes   14,328    13,565    13,944    12,967    12,174 
      Total Operating Expenses   100,935    92,977    92,604    89,777    84,190 
Operating Income   37,142    37,798    40,302    36,248    32,949 
Other Income (Expense), Net   2,992    1,617    (532)   (115)   1,040 
Interest Charges   6,758    5,506    5,293    5,554    5,607 
Income Taxes   924    11,100    11,735    10,551    9,937 
Net Income   32,452    22,809    22,742    20,028    18,445 
Preferred Stock Dividend   144    144    144    144    151 
Earnings Applicable to Common Stock  $32,308   $22,665   $22,598   $19,884   $18,294 
Earnings per Share:                         
Basic  $1.97   $1.39   $1.39   $1.23   $1.14 
Diluted  $1.96   $1.38   $1.38   $1.22   $1.13 
Average Shares Outstanding:                         
Basic   16,384    16,330    16,270    16,175    16,052 
Diluted   16,540    16,486    16,426    16,331    16,226 
Dividends Declared and Paid  $0.911   $0.858   $0.808   $0.776   $0.763 
Total Assets  $767,830   $661,140   $620,161   $581,383   $572,298 
Convertible Preferred Stock  $1,354   $1,354   $1,356   $1,356   $1,356 
Long-term Debt  $152,851   $139,045   $134,538#  $132,908   $132,565 

 

 

ITEM 7.MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATION.

 

The following discussion of the Company’s historical results of operations and financial condition should be read in conjunction with the Company’s consolidated financial statements and related notes.

 

Management’s Overview

 

Operations

 

Middlesex Water Company (Middlesex) has operated as a water utility in New Jersey since 1897, in Delaware through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Tidewater Utilities, Inc. (Tidewater), since 1992 and in Pennsylvania through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Twin Lakes Utilities, Inc. (Twin Lakes), since 2009. We are in the business of collecting, treating and distributing water for domestic, commercial, municipal, industrial and fire protection purposes. We also operate two New Jersey municipal water and wastewater systems under contract and provide regulated wastewater services in New Jersey and Delaware through four of our other subsidiaries. We are regulated as to rates charged to customers for water and wastewater services, as to the quality of water service we provide and as to certain other matters in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Only our Utility Service Affiliates, Inc. (USA), Utility Service Affiliates (Perth Amboy), Inc. (USA-PA) and White Marsh Environmental Services, Inc. (White Marsh) subsidiaries are not regulated utilities.

 

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Our New Jersey water utility system (the Middlesex System) provides water services to approximately 61,000 retail customers, primarily in central New Jersey. The Middlesex System also provides water service under contract to municipalities in central New Jersey with a total population of approximately 219,000. Our Bayview subsidiary provides water services in Downe Township, New Jersey. Our other New Jersey subsidiaries, Pinelands Water Company (Pinelands Water) and Pinelands Wastewater Company (Pinelands Wastewater) (collectively, Pinelands), provide water and wastewater services to approximately 2,500 customers in Southampton Township, New Jersey.

 

Our Delaware subsidiaries, Tidewater and Southern Shores Water Company, LLC (Southern Shores), provide water services to approximately 47,000 retail customers in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties, Delaware. Tidewater’s subsidiary, White Marsh, services approximately 4,000 customers in Kent and Sussex Counties through various operations and maintenance contracts.

 

Our Tidewater Environmental Services, Inc. (TESI) subsidiary provides wastewater services to approximately 3,600 residential retail customers in Sussex Counties, Delaware.

 

USA-PA operates the water and wastewater systems for the City of Perth Amboy, New Jersey (Perth Amboy) under a 10-year operations and maintenance contract expiring in 2028. In addition to performing day-to day operations, USA-PA is also responsible for emergency responses and management of capital projects funded by Perth Amboy. USA-PA does not manage the billing, collections and customer service functions of Perth Amboy.

 

USA operates the Borough of Avalon, New Jersey’s (Avalon) water utility, sewer utility and storm water system under a ten-year operations and maintenance contract expiring in 2022. In addition to performing day to day operations, USA is responsible for billing, collections, customer service, emergency responses and management of capital projects funded by Avalon. Under a marketing agreement with HomeServe USA (HomeServe), USA offers residential customers in New Jersey and Delaware a menu of water and wastewater related home maintenance programs. HomeServe is a leading national provider of such home maintenance service programs. USA receives a service fee for the billing, cash collection and other administrative matters associated with HomeServe’s service contracts. USA also provides unregulated water and wastewater services under contract with several New Jersey municipalities.

 

Our Pennsylvania subsidiary, Twin Lakes, provides water services to approximately 120 retail customers in the Township of Shohola, Pike County, Pennsylvania.

 

Recent Developments

 

Capital Construction Program - The Company’s multi-year capital construction program encompasses numerous projects designed to upgrade and replace utility infrastructure as well as enhance the integrity and reliability of assets to better serve the current and future generations of water and wastewater customers. The Company plans to invest approximately $118 million in 2019 in connection with this plan for projects that include, but are not limited to;

·Construction of a 4.6 mile water transmission pipeline to provide critical resiliency and redundancy to the Company’s water transmission system in New Jersey;
·Replacement of four miles of water mains including service lines, valves, fire hydrants and meters in Carteret, New Jersey;
·Enhanced treatment process at the Company’s largest water plant in Edison, New Jersey, to mitigate the formation of disinfection by-products that can develop during treatment;
·Construction of a new wastewater treatment plant to serve our customers in the Town of Milton, Delaware;
·Relocation of water meters from inside customers’ premises to exterior meter pits to allow quicker access by crews in emergencies, enhanced customer safety and convenience and reduced unmetered water; and
·Additional standby emergency power generation.

 

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Contract Operations - USA-PA successfully renewed an expiring contract to operate Perth Amboy’s water and wastewater collection systems. In July 2018, through a competitive proposal process, Perth Amboy awarded a $67 million base professional services contract to USA-PA through 2028.

 

Discount on Middlesex Common Stock - The Company is offering shares of its common stock at a 5% discount to participants in the Middlesex Water Company Investment Plan for purchases made by participants commencing January 2, 2019 which will continue until 200,000 shares are purchased at the discounted price or December 30, 2019, whichever event occurs first.  This offer applies to all common stock purchases made under the Investment Plan, whether by optional cash payment or by dividend reinvestment.    

 

Strategy for Growth

 

Our strategy for profitable growth is focused on the following key areas:

 

·Prudent acquisitions of investor and municipally-owned water and wastewater utilities;
·Timely and adequate recovery of infrastructure investments and other costs to maintain service quality;
·Operation of municipal and industrial water and wastewater systems on a contract basis; and
·Invest in projects, products and services that complement our core water and wastewater competencies.

 

Rates

 

Middlesex - In March 2018, Middlesex’s petition to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (the NJBPU) seeking permission to increase its base water rates was concluded, based on a negotiated settlement, resulting in an increase in annual operating revenues of $5.5 million. In its initial October 2017 filing with the NJBPU, Middlesex had sought an increase of $15.3 million to recover costs for capital infrastructure investments Middlesex has made, or has committed to make, to drinking water infrastructure since the prior filing in New Jersey in 2015 as well as increased operations and maintenance costs. During the pendency of this rate matter, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Tax Act) was signed into law. Under the Tax Act the maximum corporate income tax rate was reduced from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018. Because income tax is one of the cost components used to determine a regulated utility’s revenue requirement, Middlesex was able to reduce its original rate increase request by $4.9 million to $10.4 million. The approved base water rates were designed to recover increased operating costs as well as a return on invested capital in rate base of $245.5 million, based on an authorized return on common equity of 9.6%. As part of the settlement, Middlesex received approval for regulatory accounting treatment of accumulated deferred income tax benefits associated with required adoption of tangible property regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The settlement agreement allowed for a four-year amortization period for $28.7 million of deferred income tax benefits as well as immediate and prospective recognition of the tangible property regulations’ tax benefits in future years. The rate increase became effective April 1, 2018.

 

In December 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s petition to establish its Purchased Water Adjustment Clause (PWAC) tariff rate to recover additional annual costs of less than $0.1 million, primarily for the purchase of treated water from a non-affiliated water utility regulated by the NJBPU. A PWAC is a rate mechanism that allows for recovery of increased purchased water costs between base rate case filings. The PWAC is reset to zero once those increased costs are included in base rates. The PWAC tariff rate became effective on January 1, 2019.

 

Tidewater - Effective January 1, 2019, Tidewater increased its Delaware Public Service Commission (the DEPSC) approved Distribution System Improvement Charge rate, which is expected to generate revenues of approximately $0.2 million annually.

 

In February 2019, Tidewater received approval from the DEPSC to reduce its rates, effective March 1, 2019, to reflect the lower corporate income tax rate enacted by the Tax Act, resulting in a 3.35% rate decrease for certain customer classes.

 

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Pinelands - In 2016, the NJBPU approved $0.2 million and $0.1 million of increases, respectively, in Pinelands Water and Pinelands Wastewater’s annual base rates. The rate increases were necessitated by capital infrastructure investments by the companies, increased operations and maintenance costs and lower non-fixed fee revenues. The Pinelands Water base water rate increase was phased-in between 2016 and 2017.

 

Southern Shores - Under the terms of a multi-year DEPSC-approved agreement expiring in 2020, customer rates will increase on January 1st of each year to generate additional annual revenue of $0.1 million with each increase.

 

Twin Lakes - In 2016, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission approved a $0.1 million increase in Twin Lakes’ base water rates. The rate increase was necessitated by capital infrastructure investments Twin Lakes has made, or committed to make, and increased operations and maintenance costs. The rate increase is being phased in with the final phases implemented subsequent to completion of specific utility plant projects.

 

Outlook

 

Our ability to increase operating income and net income is based significantly on four factors: weather, adequate and timely rate relief, effective cost management, and customer growth (which are evident in comparison discussions in the Results of Operations section below). Revenues in 2019 are expected to be favorably impacted by the full year effect of Middlesex’s April 2018 base water rate increase. Weather patterns experienced in 2017 and 2018, which resulted in lower customer demand, may reoccur in 2019. Actuarially-determined non-service retirement benefit plan costs are expected to increase significantly in 2019. As operating costs are anticipated to increase in 2019 in a variety of categories, we continue to implement plans to further streamline operations and further reduce, and mitigate increases in, operating costs. Changes in customer water usage habits, as well as increases in capital expenditures and operating costs, are significant factors in determining the timing and extent of rate increase requests.

 

Organic residential customer growth for 2019 is expected to be consistent with that experienced in recent years.

 

The Company has projected to spend approximately $295 million on its 2019-2021 capital investment program, including approximately $42 million for the upgrade of Middlesex’s main water treatment plant in New Jersey, $29 million to construct a large-diameter transmission pipeline that will provide a second connection between Middlesex’s main water treatment plant and distribution system in New Jersey, $34 million on our RENEW Program, our ongoing initiative to eliminate unlined mains in the Middlesex System and $25 million to relocate water meters from inside customers’ premises to exterior meter pits.

 

Operating Results by Segment

 

The Company has two operating segments, Regulated and Non-Regulated. Our Regulated segment contributed approximately 88%, 88% and 89% of total revenues for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively and approximately 94%, 94% and 98% of net income for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. The discussion of the Company’s results of operations is on a consolidated basis, and includes significant factors by subsidiary. The segments in the tables included below are comprised of the following companies: Regulated- Middlesex, Tidewater, Pinelands, Southern Shores, TESI and Twin Lakes; Non-Regulated- USA, USA-PA, and White Marsh.

 

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Results of Operations for 2018 as Compared to 2017

 

   (In Millions) 
   Years Ended December 31, 
   2018   2017 
   Regulated   Non-
Regulated
   Total   Regulated   Non-
Regulated
   Total 
Revenues  $121.7   $16.4   $138.1   $115.3   $15.5   $130.8 
Operations and maintenance expenses   58.8    12.8    71.6    53.2    12.3    65.5 
Depreciation expense   14.8    0.2    15.0    13.7    0.2    13.9 
Other taxes   13.9    0.4    14.3    13.2    0.4    13.6 
  Operating income   34.2    3.0    37.2    35.2    2.6    37.8 
                               
Other income (expense), net   2.9    0.1    3.0    1.5    0.1    1.6 
Interest expense   6.7    0.1    6.8    5.4    0.1    5.5 
Income taxes   (0.1)   1.0    0.9    9.8    1.3    11.1 
  Net income  $30.5   $2.0   $32.5   $21.5   $1.3   $22.8 

 

Operating Revenues

 

Operating revenues for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased $7.3 million from the same period in 2017. This increase was related to the following factors:

 

·Middlesex System revenues increased $4.9 million due to the following:
oEffective April 1, 2018, a NJBPU-approved base rate increase resulted in higher revenues of $4.3 million;
oHigher water demand from Contract customers of $0.6 million;
·Tidewater System revenues increased $1.4 million due to additional customers;
·Non-Regulated revenues rose by $0.9 million as White Marsh increased the number of contracts to operate water and wastewater systems and increased the level of supplemental services to existing customers under contract.; and
·All other operating revenue categories increased $0.1 million.

 

Operation and Maintenance Expense

 

Operation and maintenance expenses for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased $6.1 million from the same period in 2017, primarily related to the following factors:

 

·Variable production costs increased $1.2 million due to increased volumes and higher rates paid for purchased water and higher treatment costs due to weather-impacted changes in raw water quality;
·Labor costs rose $1.5 million due to increases in headcount for regulatory and other operational needs, wage increases overall averaging approximately 3% and overtime costs for weather related water main break activity;
·Employee healthcare and business liability insurance costs increased $0.9 million due to higher net policy premiums;
·Higher employee retirement related incentive compensation costs of $0.4 million;
·Higher rent expense of $0.4 million due to an increase in the square footage of commercial office space under lease to accommodate various operational and administrative needs;
·Compliance with the recently enacted State of New Jersey Water Quality Accountability Act increased regulatory related costs by $0.3 million;
·Transportation expenses increased $0.3 million due to higher fuel prices;

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·Higher weather-related water main break repair activity in our Middlesex system resulted in additional $0.3 million of non-labor costs;
·Higher information technology costs of $0.2 million due to increased licensing fees; and
·All other operation and maintenance expense categories increased $0.6 million.

 

Depreciation

 

Depreciation expense for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased $1.1 million from the same period in 2017 due to a higher level of utility plant in service.

 

Other Taxes

 

Other taxes for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased $0.8 million from the same period in 2017 primarily due to higher revenue related taxes on increased revenues in our Middlesex system.

 

Other Income, net

 

Other Income, net for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased $1.4 million from the same period in 2017 primarily due to higher Allowance for Funds Used During Construction resulting from a higher level of capital projects in progress, higher actuarially-determined postretirement benefit plan non-service credits and the sale of wastewater franchise rights by our TESI subsidiary.

 

Interest Charges

 

Interest charges for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased $1.3 million from the same period in 2017 due to higher average amounts of total debt outstanding, increased short-term debt interest rates and accrued interest associated with the IRS examination of the Company’s 2014 federal income tax return (see Note 3 – Income Taxes for further discussion of this matter).

 

Income Taxes

 

Income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2018 decreased $10.2 million from the same period in 2017, primarily due to regulatory accounting treatment of tangible property regulations tax deductions, which were approved in Middlesex’s most recent base rate case (see “Middlesex” in Rates above and Note 3 – Income Taxes for further discussion of this matter) and a lower effective tax rate resulting from the Tax Act.

 

Net Income and Earnings Per Share

 

Net income for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased $9.6 million as compared with the same period in 2017. Basic earnings per share were $1.97 and $1.39 for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Diluted earnings per share were $1.96 and $1.38 for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

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Results of Operations for 2017 as Compared to 2016

 

   (In Millions) 
   Years Ended December 31, 
   2017   2016 
   Regulated   Non-
Regulated
   Total   Regulated   Non-
Regulated
   Total 
Revenues  $115.3   $15.5   $130.8   $117.9   $15.0   $132.9 
Operations and maintenance expenses   53.2    12.3    65.5    53.9    12.0    65.9 
Depreciation expense   13.7    0.2    13.9    12.6    0.2    12.8 
Other taxes   13.2    0.4    13.6    13.6    0.4    14.0 
  Operating income   35.2    2.6    37.8    37.8    2.4    40.2 
                               
Other income (expense), net   1.5    0.1    1.6    0.7    (1.2)   (0.5)
Interest expense   5.4    0.1    5.5    5.2    0.1    5.3 
Income taxes   9.8    1.3    11.1    11.1    0.6    11.7 
  Net income  $21.5   $1.3   $22.8   $22.2   $0.5   $22.7 

 

Operating Revenues

 

Operating revenues for the year ended December 31, 2017 decreased $2.1 million from the same period in 2016.

 

·Middlesex System revenues decreased $4.0 million due to lower water consumption across all classes of customers largely as a result of weather patterns in the spring and summer months in 2017 in addition to lower bulk water sales to neighboring municipal systems who experienced emergency conditions in 2016;
·Tidewater System revenues increased $1.3 million due to additional residential customers offset by lower water consumption, also largely a result of weather patterns in the spring and summer months in 2017;
·Revenues in our unregulated companies increased $0.5 million due to new White Marsh contracts to operate water and wastewater systems and a higher amount of billable supplemental services under USA’s contract to operate Avalon’s water utility, sewer utility and storm water system, partially offset by lower billable supplemental services under USA-PA’s contract to operate Perth Amboy’s water supply system and wastewater system; and
·All other operating revenue categories increased $0.1 million.

 

Operation and Maintenance Expense

 

Operation and maintenance expenses for the year ended December 31, 2017 decreased $0.4 million from the same period in 2016, primarily related to the following factors:

 

·Lower retirement benefit plan expenses of $0.8 million due to reimbursement of retiree healthcare insurance premiums;
·Decreased liability insurance costs of $0.7 million, primarily due to prior policy year refunds;
·Higher water production costs of $0.6 million in our Middlesex System, primarily due to a rate increase by the municipal wastewater utility that receives the water treatment residuals in the Middlesex System and increased chemical costs as a result of intermittent changes in raw water quality; and
·Higher water main break repair activity in our Middlesex System in 2017 as compared to 2016 resulted in higher costs of $0.5 million.

 

Depreciation

 

Depreciation expense for the year ended December 31, 2017 increased $1.1 million from the same period in 2016 due to a higher level of utility plant in service.

 

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Other Taxes

 

Other taxes for the year ended December 31, 2017 decreased $0.4 million from the same period in 2016 due to lower revenue related taxes on decreased revenues in our Middlesex System offset by higher payroll taxes.

 

Other Income (Expense), net

 

Other Income (Expense), net for year ended December 31, 2017 increased $2.1 million from the same period in 2016 due to a $1.9 million charge in 2016 in connection with Middlesex’s joint venture equity investment in, and loan to, Ridgewood Green RME, LLC, higher retirement benefit plan non-service credits and higher Allowance for Funds Used During Construction resulting from a higher level of capital projects in progress partially offset by the 2016 recognition by USA of previously deferred income associated with the 10-year marketing agreement with HomeServe.

 

Interest Charges

 

Interest charges for the year ended December 31, 2017 increased $0.2 million from the same period in 2016 due to higher average short-term debt balances outstanding and higher average interest rates on short-term debt.

 

Income Taxes

 

Income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2017 decreased $0.6 million from the same period in 2016, due to the Company’s re-measurement of certain accumulated deferred income taxes based on the rates at which they are expected to reverse in the future, resulting from the Tax Act. On December 22, 2017, the Tax Act was signed into law making significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code, including a corporate tax rate decrease from 35% to 21% effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.

 

Net Income and Earnings Per Share

 

Net income for the year ended December 31, 2017 increased $0.1 million as compared with the same period in 2016. Basic and diluted earnings per share were each $1.39 and $1.38, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2017. Basic and diluted earnings per share were $1.39 and $1.38, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2016.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

Cash Flows from Operating Activities

 

Cash flows from operating activities are largely influenced by four factors: weather, adequate and timely rate increases, effective cost management and customer growth. The effect of those factors on net income is discussed in the Results of Operations section above.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2018 cash flows from operating activities were $45.9 million, which enabled us to internally fund approximately 35% of utility plant expenditures in 2018. This was an increase in cash flows of $3.0 million from 2017 and resulted primarily from higher revenues and timing of payments to vendors.

 

Increases in certain operating costs impact our liquidity and capital resources. We continually monitor the need for timely rate filing to minimize the lag between the time we experience increased operating costs and capital expenditures and the time we receive appropriate rate relief. There can be no assurances however that our regulated subsidiaries’ respective Utility Commissions will approve base water and/or wastewater rate increase requests in whole or in part or when the decisions will be rendered.

 

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Cash Flows from Investing Activities

 

For the year ended December 31, 2018, cash flows used in investing activities increased $21.8 million to $72.1 million, which was attributable to higher utility plant expenditures.

 

For further discussion on the Company’s future capital expenditures and expected funding sources, see “Capital Expenditures and Commitments” below.

 

Cash Flows from Financing Activities

 

For the year ended December 31, 2018, cash flows provided by financing activities increased $16.0 million to $25.5 million. The majority of the increase in cash flows provided by financing activities is due to the net increase in short-term and long-term debt funding, which was partially offset by increased common stock dividend payments.

 

For further discussion on the Company’s short-term and long-term debt, see “Sources of Liquidity” below.

 

Capital Expenditures and Commitments

 

To fund our capital program, we use internally generated funds, short term and long term debt borrowings, proceeds from sales of common stock under the Middlesex Water Company Investment Plan (Investment Plan) and, when market conditions are favorable, proceeds from sales offerings to the public of our common stock.

 

The table below summarizes our estimated capital expenditures for the years 2019-2021.

 

   (Millions)
   2019  2020  2021  2019-2021
Distribution/Network System   74    48    53   $175 
Production System   36    41    16    93 
Information Technolgy (IT) Systems   1    3    2    6 
Other   7    9    5    21 
Total Estimated Capital Expenditures  $118   $101   $76   $295 

  

Our estimated capital expenditures for the items listed above are primarily comprised of the following:

·Distribution/Network System-Projects associated with installation and relocation of water mains and service lines and wastewater collection systems, construction of water storage tanks, installation and replacement of hydrants and meters and our RENEW Program. RENEW is our ongoing initiative to eliminate unlined water mains in the Middlesex System. In connection with our RENEW Program, we expect to spend approximately $11 million in 2019, $12 million in 2020 and $11 million in 2021. Construction of a large-diameter transmission pipeline that will provide a second connection between Middlesex’s Carl J. Olsen (CJO) water treatment plant and our distribution system is expected to result in approximately $29 million of expenditures between 2019 and 2020.
·Production System-Projects associated with our water production and water/wastewater treatment plants, including $42 million of expenditures between 2019 and 2020 for the upgrade of the CJO water treatment plant and $9 million of expenditures between 2019 and 2020 for construction of a new wastewater treatment plant to serve the town of Milton, Delaware.
·IT Systems-Further upgrade of our enterprise resource planning system and hardware and software purchases for our other IT systems.
·Other-Purchase of transportation equipment, tools, furniture, laboratory equipment, security systems and other general infrastructure needs including improvements to our operations center in Iselin, New Jersey.

 

The actual amount and timing of capital expenditures is dependent on the need for replacement of existing infrastructure, customer growth, residential new home construction and sales, project scheduling and continued refinement of project scope and costs.

 

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To pay for our capital program in 2019, we plan on utilizing some or all of the following:

·Internally generated funds;
·Short-term borrowings, as needed, through $100 million of available lines of credit with several financial institutions. As of December 31, 2018, there was $43.5 million of available credit under these lines (see discussion under “Sources of Liquidity-Short-term Debt” below);
·Proceeds from the New Jersey and Delaware State Revolving Fund (SRF). SRF programs provide low cost financing for projects that meet certain water quality and system improvement benchmarks (see discussion under “Sources of Liquidity-Long-term Debt” below);
·Proceeds from the issuance and sale of First Mortgage Bonds through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) (see discussion under “Sources of Liquidity-Long-term Debt” below);
·Proceeds from the Investment Plan, which includes a 5% discount purchase program for 2019 (see discussion under “Sources of Liquidity-Common Stock” below); and
·Proceeds from a common stock sale (see discussion under “Sources of Liquidity-Common Stock” below).

 

Sources of Liquidity

 

Short-term Debt. The Company had available lines of credit of $92.0 million at December 31, 2018, and the outstanding borrowings under the credit lines were $48.5 million, at a weighted average interest rate of 3.57%. The Company increased its available lines of credit to $100.0 million in February 2019.

 

The weighted average daily amounts of borrowings outstanding under the Company’s credit lines and the weighted average interest rates on those amounts were $37.3 million and $18.6 million at 3.17% and 2.15% for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

 

Long-term Debt. Subject to regulatory approval, the Company periodically issues long-term debt to fund its investments in utility plant and other assets. To the extent possible, the Company finances qualifying capital projects under SRF loan programs in New Jersey and Delaware. These government programs provide financing at interest rates that are typically below rates available in the broader financial markets. A portion of the borrowings under the New Jersey SRF is interest-free.

 

Under the New Jersey SRF program, borrowers first enter into a construction loan agreement with the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (NJIB) at a below market interest rate. The NJIB was formerly known as the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust. The current interest rate on construction loan borrowings is zero percent (0%). When construction on the qualifying project is substantially complete, the NJIB will coordinate the conversion of the construction loan into a long-term securitized loan with a portion of the principal balance having a stated interest rate of zero percent (0%) and a portion of the principal balance at a market interest rate at the time of closing using the credit rating of the State of New Jersey. The current term of the long-term loans offered through the NJIB is up to thirty years. The NJIB generally schedules its long-term debt financings in May and November.

 

In September 2018, the NJIB announced changes to the SRF program for project funding priority ranking, the proportions of interest free loans and market interest rate loans and overall loan limits on interest free loan balances to investor-owned water utilities. These changes affect SRF projects for which the construction loan closes after September 2018. Under the new guidelines, the principal balance having a stated interest rate of zero percent (0%) is 25% of the loan balance with the remaining portion of 75% having a market based interest rate. This is limited to the first $10.0 million of the loan. Loan amounts above $10.0 million do not participate in the 0% rate program, but do participate at the market based interest rate. The only project financing currently affected by these changes is the upgrade to the Company’s CJO water treatment plant. In April 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s request to participate in the NJIB loan program and borrow up to $55.0 million for this upgrade project. It is uncertain at this time if the CJO water treatment plant upgrade project will continue to qualify for the funding under the new SRF program ranking system. The Company is awaiting further guidance from the NJIB. These changes in the SRF program are presently anticipated to result in an overall increase in the Company’s long-term borrowing costs for which the Company would expect to seek rate relief at the appropriate time.

 

28 

In order to maintain the estimated financing time schedule for the CJO water treatment plant upgrade project and other projects that were expected to qualify under the prior SRF program ranking system, Middlesex requested approval from the NJBPU to issue and sell up to $140 million of First Mortgage Bonds through the NJEDA in whole or in phases periodically through December 31, 2022. The request was filed with the NJBPU in December 2018 and approved in February 2019. The Company expects to issue and sell the first phase of First Mortgage Bonds by the third quarter of 2019. The amount of the offering could be between $25 million and $75 million depending on the guidance received from the NJIB.

 

In May 2018, Middlesex closed out its $9.5 million RENEW 2017 construction loan by issuing to the NJIB first mortgage bonds designated as Series 2018A ($7.1 million) and Series 2018B ($2.4 million). The interest rate on the Series 2018A bond is zero and the interest rate on the Series 2018B bond ranges between 3.0% and 5.0%. Through December 31, 2018, Middlesex has drawn down a total of $9.3 million and expects to draw down the remaining proceeds during the first quarter of 2019. The final maturity date for both bonds is August 1, 2047, with scheduled debt service payments over the life of the loans.

 

In April 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s request to participate in the NJIB loan program to fund the construction of a large-diameter transmission pipeline from the CJO water treatment plant and interconnect with our distribution system. Middlesex closed on a $43.5 million NJIB construction loan in August 2018. Through December 31, 2018, Middlesex has drawn down a total of $10.5 million and expects to draw down the remaining proceeds through the end of 2019.

 

In March 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s request to borrow up to $14.0 million under the NJIB program to fund the 2018 RENEW Program, which is an ongoing initiative to eliminate all unlined water distribution mains in the Middlesex system. Middlesex closed on an $8.7 million NJIB construction loan in September 2018. Through December 31, 2018, Middlesex has drawn down a total of $6.1 million and expects to draw down the remaining proceeds during the remainder of 2019. The NJIB has informed the Company that the RENEW 2018 construction loan is scheduled for the May 2019 long-term debt financing program.

 

In March 2018, the DEPSC approved Tidewater’s request to borrow up to $0.9 million under the Delaware SRF program to fund the replacement of an entire water distribution system of a small Delaware subdivision. Tidewater closed on the SRF loan in May 2018. Management is currently evaluating revised project cost estimates and the potential need for additional Delaware SRF program funding.

 

In November 2017, Middlesex closed out three of its NJIB construction loans (booster station upgrade, RENEW 2015 and RENEW 2016 projects) by issuing to the NJIB first mortgage bonds designated as Series XX ($11.3 million) and Series YY ($3.9 million). The interest rate on the Series XX bond is zero and the interest rate on the Series YY bond range between 3.0% and 5.0%. Through December 31, 2018, Middlesex has drawn down $15.1 million and expects to draw down the remaining proceeds during the first quarter of 2019. The final maturity date for both bonds is August 1, 2047, with scheduled debt service payments over the life of the loan.

 

Substantially all of the utility plant of the Company is subject to the lien of its mortgage, which includes debt service and capital ratio covenants. The Company is in compliance with all of its mortgage covenants and restrictions.

 

Common Stock. The Company raised $1.2 million through the issuance of 26,685 shares under the Investment Plan during 2018. The Company is offering shares of its common stock at a 5% discount to participants in the Investment Plan for purchases made by participants commencing January 2, 2019 which will continue until 200,000 shares are purchased at the discounted price or December 30, 2019, whichever event occurs first.  This offer applies to all common stock purchases made under the Investment Plan, whether by optional cash payment or by dividend reinvestment.

 

29 

In order to fully fund the ongoing large investment program in our utility plant infrastructure and maintain a balanced capital structure for a regulated water utility, Middlesex expects to offer for sale additional shares of its common stock. The amount, the timing and the sales method of the common stock is dependent on the timing of the construction expenditures, the level of additional debt financing and financial market conditions.

 

Contractual Obligations

 

In the course of normal business activities, the Company enters into a variety of contractual obligations and commercial commitments. Some result in direct obligations on the Company’s balance sheet while others are commitments, some firm and some based on uncertainties, which are disclosed in the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

 

The table below presents our known contractual obligations for the periods specified as of December 31, 2018.

 

   Payment Due by Period
(Millions of Dollars)
   Total  Less than
1 Year
  2-3
Years
  4-5
Years
  More
than 5
Years
                
Long-term Debt  $162.9   $7.3   $14.4   $12.9   $128.3 
Notes Payable   48.5    48.5             
Interest on Long-term Debt   70.0    5.3    9.7    8.7    46.3 
Purchased Water Contracts   23.4    6.6    10.5    6.3     
Commercial Office Leases   9.2    0.7    1.6    1.6    5.3 
Total  $314.0   $68.4   $36.2   $29.5   $179.9 

 

The table above does not reflect any anticipated cash payments for postretirement benefit plan obligations. The effect on the timing and amount of these payments resulting from potential changes in actuarial assumptions and returns on plan assets cannot be estimated. In 2018, the Company contributed $5.1 million to its postretirement benefit plans and expects to contribute approximately $5.0 million in 2019.

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

The application of accounting policies and standards often requires the use of estimates, assumptions and judgments. The Company regularly evaluates these estimates, assumptions and judgments, including those related to the calculation of pension and postretirement benefits, unbilled revenues, and the recoverability of certain assets, including regulatory assets. The Company bases its estimates, assumptions and judgments on historical experience and current operating environment. Changes in any of the variables that are used for the Company’s estimates, assumptions and judgments may lead to significantly different financial statement results.

 

Our critical accounting policies are set forth below.

 

Regulatory Accounting

 

We maintain our books and records in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Middlesex and certain of its subsidiaries, which account for approximately 88% of Operating Revenues and 99% of Total Assets, are subject to regulation in the states in which they operate. Those companies are required to maintain their accounts in accordance with regulatory authorities’ rules and guidelines, which may differ from other authoritative accounting pronouncements. In those instances, the Company follows the guidance in the Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 980 Regulated Operations (Regulatory Accounting).

 

30 

 

In accordance with Regulatory Accounting, costs and obligations are deferred if it is probable that these items will be recognized for rate-making purposes in future rates. Accordingly, we have recorded costs and obligations, which will be amortized over various future periods. Any change in the assessment of the probability of rate-making treatment will require us to change the accounting treatment of the deferred item. We have no reason to believe any of the deferred items that are recorded will be treated differently by the regulators in the future.

 

Revenues

 

The Company’s revenues are primarily generated from regulated tariff-based sales of water and wastewater services and non-regulated operation and maintenance contracts for services on water and wastewater systems owned by others. Revenue from contracts with customers is recognized when control of a promised good or service is transferred to customers at an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods and services.

 

The Company’s regulated revenue from contracts with customers is derived from tariff-based sales that result from the obligation to provide water and wastewater services to residential, industrial, commercial, fire-protection and wholesale customers. The Company’s residential customers are billed quarterly while most of the Company’s industrial, commercial, fire-protection and wholesale customers are billed monthly. Payments by customers are due between 15 to 30 days after the invoice date. The Company recognizes revenue as the water and wastewater services are delivered to customers as well as records unbilled revenues estimated from the last meter reading date to the end of the accounting period utilizing factors such as historical customer data, regional weather indicators and general economic conditions in its service territories. Unearned Revenues and Advance Service Fees include fixed service charge billings in advance to Tidewater customers that are recognized as service is provided to the customer.

 

Non-regulated service contract revenues consist of base service fees as well as fees for additional billable services provided to customers, are billed monthly and are due within 30 days after the invoice date. The Company considers the amounts billed to represent the value of these services provided to customers. These contracts expire at various times through December 2028 and thus contain remaining performance obligations for which the Company expects to recognize revenue in the future. These contracts also contain customary termination provisions.

 

Almost all of the amounts included in operating revenues are from contracts with customers.

 

Retirement Benefit Plans

 

We maintain a noncontributory defined benefit pension plan (Pension Plan) which covers all currently active employees who were hired prior to April 1, 2007. In addition, the Company maintains an unfunded supplemental plan for its executive officers.

 

The Company has a retirement benefit plan other than pensions (Other Benefits Plan) for substantially all of its retired employees. Employees hired after March 31, 2007 are not eligible to participate in the Other Benefits Plan. Coverage includes healthcare and life insurance.

 

The costs for providing retirement benefits are dependent upon numerous factors, including actual plan experience and assumptions of future experience. Future retirement benefit plan obligations and expense will depend on future investment performance, changes in future discount rates and various other demographic factors related to the population participating in the Company’s retirement benefit plans, all of which can change significantly in future years.

 

31 

 

The allocation by asset category of retirement benefit plan assets at December 31, 2018 and 2017 is as follows:

 

   Pension Plan   Other Benefits Plan 
Asset Category  2018   2017   Target    2018   2017   Target  
Equity Securities   59.5%   62.8%   55%   54.7%   57.7%   43%
Debt Securities   36.5%   33.6%   38%   37.3%   32.9%   50%
Cash   1.6%   1.0%   2%   8.0%   9.4%   2%
Real Estate/Commodities   2.4%   2.6%   5%   0.0%   0.0%   5%
Total   100.0%   100.0%        100.0%   100.0%     

 

The primary assumptions used for determining future postretirement benefit plans’ obligations and costs are as follows:

 

·Discount Rate - calculated based on market rates for long-term, high-quality corporate bonds specific to the expected duration of our Pension Plan and Other Benefits Plan’s liabilities;
·Compensation Increase - based on management projected future employee compensation increases;
·Long-Term Rate of Return - determined based on expected returns from our asset allocation for our Pension Plan and Other Benefits Plan assets;
·Mortality –The Company utilizes the Society of Actuaries’ mortality table (RP 2014) (Mortality Improvement Scale MP2018 for the 2018 valuation); and
·Healthcare Cost Trend Rate - based on management projected future healthcare costs.

 

The discount rate, compensation increase rate and long-term rate of return used to determine future obligations of our postretirement benefit plans as of December 31, 2018 are as follows:

 

  Pension Plan Other Benefits Plan
Discount Rate 4.15% 4.15%
Compensation Increase 3.00% 3.00%
Long-term Rate of Return 7.00% 7.00%

 

For the 2018 valuation, costs and obligations for our Other Benefits Plan assumed a 8.0% annual rate of increase in the per capita cost of covered healthcare benefits in 2019 with the annual rate of increase declining 1.0% per year for 2020-2021 and 0.5% per year for 2022-2023, resulting in an annual rate of increase in the per capita cost of covered healthcare benefits of 5% by year 2023.

 

The following is a sensitivity analysis for certain actuarial assumptions used in determining projected benefit obligations (PBO) and expenses for our postretirement benefit plans:

 

Pension Plan

 

Actuarial Assumptions  Estimated
Increase/
(Decrease)
on PBO
(000s)
  Estimated
Increase/
(Decrease)
on Expense
(000s)
Discount Rate 1% Increase  $(10,937)  $(1,271)
Discount Rate 1% Decrease   13,721    1,537 

32 

 

Other Benefits Plan

 

   Estimated
Increase/
(Decrease)
on PBO
(000s)
  Estimated
Increase/
(Decrease)
on Expense
(000s)
Discount Rate 1% Increase  $(6,942)  $(974)
Discount Rate 1% Decrease   8,916    1,231 
Healthcare Cost Trend Rate 1% Increase   7,593    1,633 
Healthcare Cost Trend Rate 1% Decrease   (6,054)   (1,270)

 

Recent Accounting Standards

 

See Note 1(r) of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a discussion of recent accounting pronouncements.

 

ITEM 7A.QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.

 

We are exposed to market risk associated with changes in interest rates and commodity prices. The Company is subject to the risk of fluctuating interest rates in the normal course of business. Our policy is to manage interest rates through the use of fixed rate long-term debt and, to a lesser extent, variable rate short-term debt. The Company’s interest rate risk related to existing fixed rate, long-term debt is not material due to the term of the majority of our First Mortgage Bonds, which have final maturity dates ranging from 2019 to 2047. Over the next twelve months, approximately $7.3 million of the current portion of existing long-term debt instruments will mature. The Company manages its interest rate risk related to existing variable-rate short-term debt by limiting our variable rate exposure. Applying a hypothetical change in the rate of interest charged by 10% on those fixed- and variable-rate borrowings would not have a material effect on our earnings.

 

Our risks associated with commodity price increases for chemicals, electricity and other commodities are reduced through contractual arrangements and the ability to recover price increases through rates. Non-performance by these commodity suppliers could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

 

We are exposed to credit risk for both our Regulated and Non-Regulated business segments. Our Regulated operations serve residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers while our Non-Regulated operations engage in business activities with developers, government entities and other customers. Our primary credit risk is exposure to customer default on contractual obligations and the associated loss that may be incurred due to the non-payment of customer accounts receivable balances. Our credit risk is managed through established credit and collection policies which are in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements and involve monitoring of customer exposure and the use of credit risk mitigation measures such as letters of credit or prepayment arrangements. Our credit portfolio is diversified with no significant customer or industry concentrations. In addition, our Regulated businesses are generally able to recover all prudently incurred costs including uncollectible customer accounts receivable expenses and collection costs through rates.

 

The Company's retirement benefit plan assets are exposed to the market price variations of debt and equity securities. Changes to the Company's retirement benefit plan assets’ value can impact the Company's retirement benefit plan expense, funded status and future minimum funding requirements. Our risk is reduced through our ability to recover retirement benefit plan costs through rates.

33 

ITEM 8.FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.

 

 

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Middlesex Water Company:

 

Opinions on the Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets and consolidated statements of capital stock and long-term debt of Middlesex Water Company (the "Company") as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, the related consolidated statements of income, common stockholders' equity, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2018, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the "consolidated financial statements"). We also have audited the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework: (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).

 

In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2018, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework: (2013) issued by COSO.

 

Basis for Opinions

 

The Company’s management is responsible for these consolidated financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's consolidated financial statements and an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) ("PCAOB") and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

 

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.

 

Our audits of the financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

 

34 

Index 

 

Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

 

A company's internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company's internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company's assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

 

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

 

 

/s/ Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP

 

We have served as the Company's auditor since 2006.

 

Wyomissing, Pennsylvania

 

March 8, 2019

 

35 

Index 

MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME

(In thousands except per share amounts)

 

   Years Ended December 31, 
   2018   2017   2016 
             
Operating Revenues  $138,077   $130,775   $132,906 
                
Operating Expenses:               
Operations and Maintenance   71,570    65,490    65,864 
Depreciation   15,037    13,922    12,796 
Other Taxes   14,328    13,565    13,944 
                
Total Operating Expenses   100,935    92,977    92,604 
                
Operating Income   37,142    37,798    40,302 
                
Other Income (Expense):               
Allowance for Funds Used During Construction   1,362    702    619 
Other Income (Expense), net   1,630    915    (1,151)
                
Total Other Income (Expense), net   2,992    1,617    (532)
                
Interest Charges   6,758    5,506    5,293 
                
Income before Income Taxes   33,376    33,909    34,477 
                
Income Taxes   924    11,100    11,735 
                
Net Income   32,452    22,809    22,742 
                
Preferred Stock Dividend Requirements   144    144    144 
                
Earnings Applicable to Common Stock  $32,308   $22,665   $22,598 
                
Earnings per share of Common Stock:               
Basic  $1.97   $1.39   $1.39 
Diluted  $1.96   $1.38   $1.38 
                
Average Number of               
Common Shares Outstanding :               
Basic   16,384    16,330    16,270 
Diluted   16,540    16,486    16,426 
                
Cash Dividends Paid per Common Share  $0.911   $0.858   $0.808 

 

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.          

 

36 

MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(In thousands)

 

      December 31,   December 31, 
ASSETS     2018   2017 
UTILITY PLANT:  Water Production  $156,423   $153,844 
   Transmission and Distribution   512,202    468,649 
   General   74,371    69,457 
   Construction Work in Progress   32,878    11,562 
   TOTAL   775,874    703,512 
   Less Accumulated Depreciation   157,387    146,272 
   UTILITY PLANT - NET   618,487    557,240 
              
CURRENT ASSETS:  Cash and Cash Equivalents   3,705    4,937 
   Accounts Receivable, net   11,762    10,785 
   Unbilled Revenues   7,293    6,999 
   Materials and Supplies (at average cost)   5,411    4,118 
   Prepayments   2,644    2,408 
   TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS   30,815    29,247 
              
DEFERRED CHARGES  Preliminary Survey and Investigation Charges   5,254    4,676 
AND OTHER ASSETS:  Regulatory Assets   99,236    58,423 
   Restricted Cash   1,956    1,460 
   Non-utility Assets - Net   9,989    9,478 
   Other   2,093    616 
   TOTAL DEFERRED CHARGES AND OTHER ASSETS   118,528    74,653 
   TOTAL ASSETS  $767,830   $661,140 
              
CAPITALIZATION AND LIABILITIES          
CAPITALIZATION:  Common Stock, No Par Value  $157,354    155,120 
   Retained Earnings   91,433    74,055 
   TOTAL COMMON EQUITY   248,787    229,175 
   Preferred Stock   2,433    2,433 
   Long-term Debt   152,851    139,045 
   TOTAL CAPITALIZATION   404,071    370,653 
              
CURRENT  Current Portion of Long-term Debt   7,343    6,865 
LIABILITIES:  Notes Payable   48,500    28,000 
   Accounts Payable   19,325    13,929 
   Accrued Taxes   14,230    11,418 
   Accrued Interest   1,289    1,093 
   Unearned Revenues and Advanced Service Fees   1,036    951 
   Other   2,640    2,281 
   TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES   94,363    64,537 
              
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES (Note 4)          
              
DEFERRED CREDITS  Customer Advances for Construction   22,572    21,423 
AND OTHER LIABILITIES:  Accumulated Deferred Income Taxes   47,270    43,160 
   Employee Benefit Plans   30,661    36,686 
   Regulatory Liabilities   79,112    43,745 
   Other   2,730    1,315 
   TOTAL DEFERRED CREDITS AND OTHER LIABILITIES   182,345    146,329 
              
CONTRIBUTIONS IN AID OF CONSTRUCTION   87,051    79,621 
   TOTAL CAPITALIZATION AND LIABILITIES  $767,830   $661,140 

 

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.          

37 

MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(In thousands)

 

   Years Ended December 31, 
   2018   2017   2016 
CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:               
Net Income  $32,452   $22,809   $22,742 
Adjustments to Reconcile Net Income to               
Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities:               
Depreciation and Amortization   15,780    14,846    13,532 
Provision for Deferred Income Taxes and ITC   (8,724)   7,944    3,553 
Equity Portion of AFUDC   (919)   (481)   (423)
Cash Surrender Value of Life Insurance   27    (209)   (101)
Stock Compensation Expense   1,084    840    829 
Changes in Assets and Liabilities:               
Accounts Receivable   (977)   (656)   (69)
Unbilled Revenues   (294)   (409)   (344)
Materials & Supplies   (1,293)   (24)   (1,494)
Prepayments   (236)   (384)   11 
Accounts Payable   5,396    1,586    5,818 
Accrued Taxes   2,812    (967)   3,259 
Accrued Interest   196    9    (20)
Employee Benefit Plans   (2,114)   (1,920)   (1,601)
Unearned Revenue & Advanced Service Fees   85    28    43 
Other Assets and Liabilities   2,589    (169)   1,336 
                
NET CASH PROVIDED BY OPERATING ACTIVITIES   45,864    42,843    47,071 
CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:               
Utility Plant Expenditures, Including AFUDC of $443 in 2018, $221 in 2017 and $196 in 2016   (72,094)   (50,301)   (47,375)
                
NET CASH USED IN INVESTING ACTIVITIES   (72,094)   (50,301)   (47,375)
CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:               
Redemption of Long-term Debt   (7,024)   (6,159)   (5,898)
Proceeds from Issuance of Long-term Debt   22,076    11,523    8,585 
Net Short-term Bank Borrowings   20,500    16,000    9,000 
Deferred Debt Issuance Expense   (880)   (230)   (152)
Proceeds from Issuance of Common Stock   1,150    1,234    1,453 
Payment of Common Dividends   (14,930)   (14,002)   (13,137)
Payment of Preferred Dividends   (144)   (144)   (144)
Construction Advances and Contributions-Net   4,746    1,315    1,007 
                
NET CASH PROVIDED BY FINANCING ACTIVITIES   25,494    9,537    714 
NET CHANGES IN CASH, CASH EQUIVALENTS AND RESTRICTED CASH   (736)   2,079    410 
CASH, CASH EQUIVALENTS AND RESTRICTED CASH AT BEGINNING OF PERIOD   6,397    4,318    3,908 
CASH, CASH EQUIVALENTS AND RESTRICTED CASH AT END OF PERIOD  $5,661   $6,397   $4,318 
                
                
SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLOSURE OF NON-CASH ACTIVITY:               
Utility Plant received as Construction Advances and Contributions  $3,835   $3,778   $1,439 
Long-term Debt Deobligation  $   $   $476 
SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLOSURE OF CASH FLOWS INFORMATION:               
   Cash Paid During the Year for:               
Interest  $6,113   $5,616   $5,430 
Interest Capitalized  $443   $221   $196 
Income Taxes  $4,689   $2,754   $5,729 

 

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.  

38 

MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CAPITAL STOCK AND LONG-TERM DEBT

(In thousands)

                   

   December 31,   December 31, 
   2018   2017 
Common Stock, No Par Value        
Shares Authorized -    40,000        
Shares Outstanding -  2018 - 16,403; 2017 - 16,352  $157,354   $155,120 
           
Retained Earnings   91,433    74,055 
TOTAL COMMON EQUITY  $248,787   $229,175 
           
Cumulative Preferred Stock, No Par Value:          
Shares Authorized -   126          
Shares Outstanding -   23          
   Convertible:          
Shares Outstanding, $7.00 Series - 10   1,005    1,005 
Shares Outstanding, $8.00 Series - 3   349    349 
   Nonredeemable:          
Shares Outstanding, $7.00 Series -   1   79    79 
Shares Outstanding, $4.75 Series - 10   1,000    1,000 
TOTAL PREFERRED STOCK  $2,433   $2,433 
           
Long-term Debt:          
   8.05%, Amortizing Secured Note, due December 20, 2021  $924   $1,180 
   6.25%, Amortizing Secured Note, due May 19, 2028   3,955    4,375 
   6.44%, Amortizing Secured Note, due August 25, 2030   3,267    3,547 
   6.46%, Amortizing Secured Note, due September 19, 2031   3,547    3,827 
   4.22%, State Revolving Trust Note, due December 31, 2022   228    279 
   3.60%, State Revolving Trust Note, due May 1, 2025   1,632    1,851 
   3.30% State Revolving Trust Note, due March 1, 2026   351    392 
   3.49%, State Revolving Trust Note, due January 25, 2027   389    427 
   4.03%, State Revolving Trust Note, due December 1, 2026   501    553 
   4.00% to 5.00%, State Revolving Trust Bond, due August 1, 2021   111    162 
   0.00%, State Revolving Fund Bond, due August 1, 2021   88    128 
   3.64%, State Revolving Trust Note, due July 1, 2028   235    256 
   3.64%, State Revolving Trust Note, due January 1, 2028   77    84 
   3.45%, State Revolving Trust Note, due August 1, 2031   907    962 
   6.59%, Amortizing Secured Note, due April 20, 2029   3,604    3,953 
   7.05%, Amortizing Secured Note, due January 20, 2030   2,771    3,021 
   5.69%, Amortizing Secured Note, due January 20, 2030   5,684    6,197 
   4.45%, Amortizing Secured Note, due April 20, 2040   9,387    9,827 
   4.47%, Amortizing Secured Note, due April 20, 2040   3,483    3,646 
   3.75%, State Revolving Trust Note, due July 1, 2031   1,954    2,075 
   2.00%, State Revolving Trust Note, due February 1, 2036   1,064    1,115 
   3.75%, State Revolving Trust Note, due November 30, 2030   1,024    1,090 
   0.00% Construction Loans   16,509    3,874 
   First Mortgage Bonds:          
 0.00%, Series X, due August 1, 2018       55 
 4.25% to 4.63%, Series Y, due August 1, 2018       61 
 0.00%, Series Z, due August 1, 2019   113    224 
 5.25% to 5.75%, Series AA, due August 1, 2019   155    300 
 0.00%, Series BB, due August 1, 2021   362    482 
 4.00% to 5.00%, Series CC, due August 1, 2021   489    636 
 0.00%, Series EE, due August 1, 2023   1,876    2,296 
 3.00% to 5.50%, Series FF, due August 1, 2024   2,980    3,495 
 0.00%, Series GG, due August 1, 2026   723    813 
 4.00% to 5.00%, Series HH, due August 1, 2026   795    880 
 0.00%, Series II, due August 1, 2024   520    610 
 3.40% to 5.00%, Series JJ, due August 1, 2027   671    750 
 0.00%, Series KK, due August 1, 2028   898    988 
 5.00% to 5.50%, Series LL, due August 1, 2028   1,010    1,095 
 0.00%, Series MM, due August 1, 2030   1,137    1,237 
 3.00% to 4.375%, Series NN, due August 1, 2030   1,415    1,505 
 0.00%, Series OO, due August 1, 2031   1,956    2,107 
 2.00% to 5.00%, Series PP, due August 1, 2031   700    740 
 5.00%, Series QQ, due October 1, 2023   9,915    9,915 
 3.80%, Series RR, due October 1, 2038   22,500    22,500 
 4.25%, Series SS, due October 1, 2047   23,000    23,000 
 0.00%, Series TT, due August 1, 2032   2,107    2,258 
 3.00% to 3.25%, Series UU, due August 1, 2032   800    845 
 0.00%, Series VV, due August 1, 2033   2,147    2,290 
 3.00% to 5.00%, Series WW, due August 1, 2033   795    830 
 0.00%, Series XX, due August 1, 2047   11,006    11,259 
 3.00% to 5.00%, Series YY, due August 1, 2047   3,860    3,860 
 0.00%, Series 2018A, due August 1, 2047   6,917     
 3.00%-5.00%, Series 2018B, due August 1, 2047   2,365     
SUBTOTAL LONG-TERM DEBT   162,904    147,852 
Add: Premium on Issuance of Long-term Debt   1,259    1,367 
Less: Unamortized Debt Expense   (3,969)   (3,309)
Less: Current Portion of Long-term Debt   (7,343)   (6,865)
TOTAL LONG-TERM DEBT  $152,851   $139,045 

 

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.  

39 

   Common   Common         
   Stock   Stock   Retained     
   Shares   Amount   Earnings   Total 
                 
Balance at January 1, 2016   16,225   $150,763   $55,931    206,694 
                     
Net Income             22,742    22,742 
Dividend Reinvestment & Common Stock Purchase Plan   43    1,453         1,453 
Restricted Stock Award, Net - Employees   24    682         682 
Stock Award - Board Of Directors   4    147         147 
Cash Dividends on Common Stock             (13,137)   (13,137)
Cash Dividends on Preferred Stock             (144)   (144)
Balance at December 31, 2016   16,296   $153,045   $65,392   $218,437 
                     
Net Income             22,809    22,809 
Dividend Reinvestment & Common Stock Purchase Plan   32    1,234         1,234 
Restricted Stock Award, Net - Employees   22    724         724 
Stock Award - Board Of Directors   4    147         147 
Shares Forfeited   (2)   (30)        (30)
Cash Dividends on Common Stock             (14,002)   (14,002)
Cash Dividends on Preferred Stock             (144)   (144)
Balance at December 31, 2017   16,352   $155,120   $74,055   $229,175 
                     
Net Income             32,452    32,452 
Dividend Reinvestment & Common Stock Purchase Plan   27    1,150         1,150 
Restricted Stock Award, Net - Employees   22    975         975 
Stock Award - Board Of Directors   4    147         147 
Shares Forfeited   (2)   (38)        (38)
Cash Dividends on Common Stock             (14,930)   (14,930)
Cash Dividends on Preferred Stock             (144)   (144)
Balance at December 31, 2018   16,403   $157,354   $91,433   $248,787 

 

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.      

40 

MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

Note 1 – Organization, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Recent Developments

 

(a) Organization - Middlesex Water Company (Middlesex) is the parent company and sole shareholder of Tidewater Utilities, Inc. (Tidewater), Tidewater Environmental Services, Inc. (TESI), Pinelands Water Company (Pinelands Water) and Pinelands Wastewater Company (Pinelands Wastewater) (collectively, Pinelands), Utility Service Affiliates, Inc. (USA), Utility Service Affiliates (Perth Amboy) Inc. (USA-PA) and Twin Lakes Utilities, Inc. (Twin Lakes). Southern Shores Water Company, LLC (Southern Shores) and White Marsh Environmental Systems, Inc. (White Marsh) are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Tidewater.

 

Middlesex Water Company has operated as a water utility in New Jersey since 1897, in Delaware, through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Tidewater, since 1992 and in Pennsylvania, through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Twin Lakes, since 2009. We are in the business of collecting, treating, distributing and selling water for domestic, commercial, municipal, industrial and fire protection purposes. We also operate New Jersey municipal water, wastewater and storm water systems under contract and provide unregulated water and wastewater services in New Jersey and Delaware through our subsidiaries. Our rates charged to customers for water and wastewater services, the quality of services we provide and certain other matters are regulated in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), Delaware Public Service Commission (DEPSC) and Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PAPUC), respectively. Our USA, USA-PA and White Marsh subsidiaries are not regulated utilities.

 

Certain reclassifications have been made to the prior year financial statements to conform with current period presentation. The reclassifications are immaterial to the overall presentation of our consolidated financial statements.

 

(b) Principles of Consolidation The financial statements for Middlesex and its wholly-owned subsidiaries (the Company) are reported on a consolidated basis. All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated. Other financial investments in which the Company holds a 50% or less voting interest and cannot exercise control over the operation and policies of the investments are accounted for under the equity method of accounting. Under the equity method of accounting, the Company records its investment interests in Non-Utility Assets and its percentage share of the earnings or losses of the investees in Other Income (Expense).

 

(c) System of Accounts Middlesex, Pinelands Water and Pinelands Wastewater maintain their accounts in accordance with the Uniform System of Accounts prescribed by the NJBPU. Tidewater, TESI and Southern Shores maintain their accounts in accordance with DEPSC requirements. Twin Lakes maintains its accounts in accordance with PAPUC requirements.

 

(d) Regulatory Accounting - We maintain our books and records in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Middlesex and certain of its subsidiaries, which account for 88% of Operating Revenues and 99% of Total Assets, are subject to regulation in the state in which they operate. Those companies are required to maintain their accounts in accordance with regulatory authorities’ rules and guidelines, which may differ from other authoritative accounting pronouncements. In those instances, the Company follows the guidance provided in Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 980, Regulated Operations.

 

In accordance with ASC 980, Regulated Operations, costs and obligations are deferred if it is probable that these items will be recognized for rate-making purposes in future rates. Accordingly, we have recorded costs and obligations, which will be amortized over various future periods. Any change in the assessment of the probability of rate-making treatment will require us to change the accounting treatment of the deferred item. We have no reason to believe any of the deferred items that are recorded will be treated differently by the regulators in the future. For additional information, see Note 2 – Rate and Regulatory Matters.

 

41 

(e) Retirement Benefit Plans - We maintain a noncontributory defined benefit pension plan (Pension Plan) which covers all active employees who were hired prior to April 1, 2007. In addition, the Company maintains an unfunded supplemental plan for its executive officers that are Pension Plan participants. The Company has a retirement benefit plan other than pensions (Other Benefits Plan) for substantially all of its retired employees. Employees hired after March 31, 2007 are not eligible to participate in this plan. Coverage includes healthcare and life insurance.

 

The Company’s costs for providing retirement benefits are dependent upon numerous factors, including actual plan experience and assumptions of future experience. Retirement benefit plan obligations and expense are determined based on investment performance, discount rates and various other demographic factors related to the population participating in the Company’s retirement benefit plans, all of which can change significantly in future years. For more information on the Company’s Retirement Benefit Plans, see Note 7 – Employee Benefit Plans.

 

(f) Utility Plant Utility Plant is stated at original cost as defined for regulatory purposes. Property accounts are charged with the cost of betterments and major replacements of property. Cost includes direct material, labor and indirect charges for pension benefits and payroll taxes. The cost of labor, materials, supervision and other expenses incurred in making repairs and minor replacements and in maintaining the properties is charged to the appropriate expense accounts. At December 31, 2018, there was no event or change in circumstance that would indicate that the carrying amount of any long-lived asset was not recoverable.

 

(g) Depreciation Depreciation is computed by each regulated member of the Company utilizing a rate approved by the applicable regulatory authority. The accumulated provision for depreciation is charged with the cost of property retired, less salvage. The following table sets forth the range of depreciation rates for the major utility plant categories used to calculate depreciation for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016. These rates have been approved by the NJBPU, DEPSC or PAPUC:

 

Source of Supply 1.15% -   3.44% Transmission and Distribution (T&D):
Pumping 2.00% -   5.39% T&D – Mains 1.10%  -   3.13%
Water Treatment 1.65% -   7.09% T&D – Services 2.12%  -   3.16%
General Plant 2.08% - 17.84% T&D – Other 1.61%  -   4.63%
Wastewater Collection 1.42% -   1.81%    

 

Non-regulated fixed assets consist primarily of office buildings, furniture and fixtures, and transportation equipment. These assets are recorded at original cost and depreciation is calculated based on the estimated useful lives, ranging from 3 to 40 years.

 

(h) Preliminary Survey and Investigation (PS&I) Costs In the design of water and wastewater systems that the Company ultimately intends to construct, own and operate certain expenditures are incurred to advance those project activities. These PS&I costs are recorded as deferred charges on the balance sheet because these costs are expected to be recovered through future rates charged to customers as the underlying projects are placed into service as utility plant. If it is subsequently determined that costs for a project recorded as PS&I are not recoverable through rates charged to our customers, the applicable PS&I costs are recorded as Other Expense on the statement of income at that time.

 

(i) Customers’ Advances for Construction (CAC) Utility plant and/or cash advances are provided to the Company by customers, real estate developers and builders in order to extend utility service to their properties. These transactions are recorded as CAC. Contractual Refunds of CACs in the form of cash are made by the Company and are based on either additional operating revenues generated from new customers or as new customers are connected to the respective system. After all refunds are made and/or contract terms have expired, any remaining balance is transferred to Contributions in Aid of Construction.

 

Contributions in Aid of Construction (CIAC) – CIAC include direct non-refundable contributions of utility plant and/or cash and the portion of CAC that becomes non-refundable.

 

42 

CAC and CIAC are not depreciated in accordance with regulatory requirements. In addition, these amounts reduce the investment base for purposes of setting rates.

 

(j) Allowance for Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC) - Middlesex and its regulated subsidiaries capitalize AFUDC, which represents the cost of financing projects during construction. AFUDC is added to the construction costs of individual projects exceeding specific cost and construction period thresholds established for each company and then depreciated along with the rest of the utility plant’s costs over its estimated useful life. AFUDC is calculated using each company’s weighted cost of debt and equity as approved in their most recent respective regulatory rate order. The AFUDC rates for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 for Middlesex and Tidewater are as follows:

 

  2018 2017 2016
Middlesex 6.50% 6.73% 6.73%
Tidewater 7.92% 7.92% 7.92%

 

(k) Accounts Receivable – We record bad debt expense based on historical write-offs combined with an evaluation of current conditions. The allowance for doubtful accounts was $1.0 million and $0.9 million as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, bad debt expense was $0.8 million, $0.5 million and $0.7 million, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, write-offs were $0.7 million, $0.5 million and $0.6 million, respectively.

 

In 2011, Middlesex entered into a joint venture agreement that established the legal entity RGRME for the purpose of owning and operating a renewable energy facility at a municipal wastewater treatment plant in New Jersey. Construction was completed and the facility began operating in 2013. This public-private partnership includes the production of electricity from solar panels and biogas to meet the electric power needs of the municipal wastewater treatment plant. A major element of the project’s profitability is the ability to procure, and process, an adequate supply of high quality feedstock material from outside sources to supplement the production of biogas. Such feedstock is in the form of fats, oils, grease and other materials from various commercial operations. During the fourth quarter of 2016, RGRME determined that significant additional investment would need to be made to optimize the liquid waste disposal and biogas electricity generation process. As of December 31, 2018, Middlesex had an investment of $0.2 million of equity capital and a $1.7 million loan to RGRME. The Company has determined that it is more likely than not that RGRME will be unable to satisfy its remaining debt service obligation to Middlesex and therefore, an allowance for uncollectible notes receivable of $1.7 million has been recorded. Furthermore, Middlesex has recognized a noncash impairment charge of $0.2 million, representing the Middlesex’s equity investment in RGRME. These charges are included in “Other Expense” for the year ended December 31, 2016 on the consolidated statement of income.

 

(l) Revenues - The Company’s revenues are primarily generated from regulated tariff-based sales of water and wastewater services and non-regulated operation and maintenance contracts for services on water and wastewater systems owned by others. Revenue from contracts with customers is recognized when control of a promised good or service is transferred to customers at an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods and services.

 

The Company’s regulated revenue from contracts with customers is derived from tariff-based sales that result from the obligation to provide water and wastewater services to residential, industrial, commercial, fire-protection and wholesale customers. The Company’s residential customers are billed quarterly while most of the Company’s industrial, commercial, fire-protection and wholesale customers are billed monthly. Payments by customers are due between 15 to 30 days after the invoice date. The Company recognizes revenue as the water and wastewater services are delivered to customers as well as records unbilled revenues estimated from the last meter reading date to the end of the accounting period utilizing factors such as historical customer data, regional weather indicators and general economic conditions in its service territories. Unearned Revenues and Advance Service Fees include fixed service charge billings in advance to Tidewater customers that are recognized as service is provided to the customer.

 

43 

Non-regulated service contract revenues consist of base service fees as well as fees for additional billable services provided to customers, are billed monthly and are due within 30 days after the invoice date. The Company considers the amounts billed to represent the value of these services provided to customers. These contracts expire at various times through December 2028 and thus contain remaining performance obligations for which the Company expects to recognize revenue in the future. These contracts also contain customary termination provisions.

 

Almost all of the amounts included in operating revenues and accounts receivable are from contracts with customers. The Company records its allowance for doubtful accounts based on historical write-offs combined with an evaluation of current economic conditions within its service territories.

 

The Company’s contracts do not contain any significant financing components.

 

The Company’s operating revenues are comprised of the following:

 

   (In Thousands)
   Years Ended December 31,
   2018  2017  2016
Regulated Tariff Sales               
Residential  $69,785   $66,483   $66,849 
Commercial   14,844    13,956    14,189 
Industrial   10,183    9,321    9,558 
Fire Protection   12,099    11,812    11,732 
Wholesale   14,655    13,553    15,428 
Non-Regulated Contract Operations   16,374    15,508    14,988 
Total Revenue from Contracts with Customers  $137,940   $130,633   $132,744 
Other Regulated Revenues   335    329    261 
Other Non-Regulated Revenues   404    404    400 
Inter-segment Elimination   (602)   (591)   (499)
Total Revenue  $138,077   $130,775   $132,906 

 

(m) Unamortized Debt Expense and Premiums on Long-Term Debt - Unamortized Debt Expense and Premiums on Long-Term Debt, included on the consolidated balance sheet in long-term debt, are amortized over the lives of the related debt issues.

 

(n) Income Taxes - Middlesex files a consolidated federal income tax return for the Company and income taxes are allocated based on the separate return method. Investment tax credits have been deferred and are amortized over the estimated useful life of the related property. In the event that there are interest and penalties associated with income tax adjustments from income tax authority examinations, these amounts will be reported under interest and other expense, respectively. For more information on income taxes, see Note 3 – Income Taxes.

 

(o) Cash and Cash Equivalents - For purposes of reporting cash flows, the Company considers all highly liquid investments with original maturity dates of three months or less to be cash equivalents. Cash and cash equivalents represent bank balances and money market funds with investments maturing in less than 90 days.

 

(p) Restricted Cash – Restricted cash includes cash proceeds from loan transactions entered into through state financing programs and are held in trusts for specific capital expenditures or debt service.

 

(q) Use of Estimates - Conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts in the financial statements. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

 

44 

(r) Recent Accounting Pronouncements

 

Inventory - In July 2015, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued guidance on simplifying the measurement of inventory. The new guidance replaces the current lower of cost or market test with a lower of cost and net realizable value test when cost is determined on a first-in, first-out or average cost basis. The guidance was effective January 1, 2017 and did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements.

 

Accounting for Share-Based Payments - In March 2016, the FASB issued guidance which simplifies several aspects of the accounting for employee share-based payment transactions, including the accounting for income taxes, forfeitures, and statutory tax withholding requirements, as well as classification in the statement of cash flows. The guidance was effective January 1, 2017 and did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements.

 

Revenue Recognition - The FASB issued guidance, which replaces most of the existing guidance with a single set of principles for recognizing revenue from contracts with customers. The guidance became effective January 1, 2018 and did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements. Disclosures related to Revenue Recognition are included above in Revenues.

 

Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities - The FASB issued guidance which (i) requires all investments in equity securities, except those accounted for under the equity method of accounting or that result in consolidation of the investee, unincorporated joint ventures and limited liability companies, to be carried at fair value through net income, (ii) requires an incremental recognition and disclosure requirement related to the presentation of fair value changes of financial liabilities for which the fair value option has been elected, (iii) amends several disclosure requirements, including the methods and significant assumptions used to estimate fair value or a description of the changes in the methods and assumptions used to estimate fair value, and (iv) requires disclosure of the fair value of financial assets and liabilities measured at amortized cost at the amount that would be received to sell the asset or paid to transfer the liability. The guidance became effective January 1, 2018 and did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements.

 

Statement of Cash Flows - The FASB issued guidance which amends the previous guidance on the classification of certain cash receipts and payments in the statement of cash flows. The primary purpose of the amendment is to reduce the diversity in practice that has resulted from the lack of consistent principles on this topic. The guidance became effective January 1, 2018 and did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements.

 

Restricted Cash - The FASB issued guidance related to the classification and presentation of restricted cash in the statement of cash flows, which requires entities to a) include restricted cash balances in its cash and cash-equivalent balances in the statement of cash flows and b) include a reconciliation of cash and cash-equivalents per the statement of financial position as compared to the statement of cash flows. Changes in restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents that result from transfers between cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents will not be presented as cash flow activities in the statement of cash flows. In addition, an entity with a material balance of amounts described as restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents must disclose information about the nature of the restrictions. The guidance became effective January 1, 2018 and did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements. As a result of adopting this guidance, the consolidated statements of cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 were revised, which resulted in $0.4 million and $1.5 million increases in Cash, Cash Equivalents and Restricted Cash at the Beginning and End of the Period for the year ended December 31, 2017, respectively and $0.4 million increases in Cash, Cash Equivalents and Restricted Cash at the Beginning and End of the Period for the year ended December 31, 2016.

 

Employee Benefit Plans-Net Periodic Benefit Cost – The FASB issued guidance which requires entities to (1) disaggregate the current-service-cost component from the other components of net benefit cost and present it with other current compensation costs for related employees in the income statement and (2) present the other components elsewhere in the income statement and outside of income from operations if that subtotal is presented. In addition, the guidance requires entities to disclose the income statement lines that contain the other components if they are not presented on appropriately described separate lines. The guidance became effective January 1, 2018 and did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements. As a result of adopting this guidance, the consolidated statements of income for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 were revised, which resulted in increases in Operations and Maintenance expense and Other Income (Expense), net of $0.8 million and $0.3 million, respectively.

 

45 

Leases - The FASB issued guidance related to leases which will require lessees to recognize a lease liability (a lessee’s obligation to make lease payments arising from a lease, measured on a discounted basis) and a right-of-use asset (an asset that represents the lessee’s right to use, or control the use of, a specified asset for the lease term). In January 2018, the FASB issued additional guidance related to leases which permits entities to forgo the evaluation of existing land easement arrangements to determine if they contain a lease as part of the adoption of this guidance. Land easement arrangements, or modifications to existing arrangements, entered into after adoption of this guidance will need to be evaluated to determine if they meet the definition of a lease. The guidance is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018 with early adoption permitted. The adoption of this guidance on January 1, 2019 is expected to result in the Company recording an approximate $7.3 million lease liability and right-of-use asset on the Company’s consolidated balance sheet.

 

There are no other new adopted or proposed accounting guidance that the Company is aware of that could have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

 

Note 2 - Rate and Regulatory Matters

 

Rate Matters

 

Middlesex - In March 2018, Middlesex’s petition to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (the NJBPU) seeking permission to increase its base water rates was concluded, based on a negotiated settlement, resulting in an increase in annual operating revenues of $5.5 million. In its initial October 2017 filing with the NJBPU, Middlesex had sought an increase of $15.3 million to recover costs for capital infrastructure investments Middlesex has made, or has committed to make, to drinking water infrastructure since the prior filing in New Jersey in 2015 as well as increased operations and maintenance costs. During the pendency of this rate matter, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Tax Act) was signed into law. Under the Tax Act the maximum corporate income tax rate was reduced from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018. Because income tax is one of the cost components used to determine a regulated utility’s revenue requirement, Middlesex was able to reduce its original rate increase request by $4.9 million to $10.4 million. The approved base water rates were designed to recover increased operating costs as well as a return on invested capital in rate base of $245.5 million, based on an authorized return on common equity of 9.6%. As part of the settlement, Middlesex received approval for regulatory accounting treatment of accumulated deferred income tax benefits associated with required adoption of tangible property regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The settlement agreement allowed for a four-year amortization period for $28.7 million of deferred income tax benefits as well as immediate and prospective recognition of the tangible property regulations’ tax benefits in future years. The rate increase became effective April 1, 2018.

 

In December 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s petition to establish its Purchased Water Adjustment Clause (PWAC) tariff rate to recover additional annual costs of less than $0.1 million, primarily for the purchase of treated water from a non-affiliated water utility regulated by the NJBPU. A PWAC is a rate mechanism that allows for recovery of increased purchased water costs between base rate case filings. The PWAC is reset to zero once those increased costs are included in base rates. The PWAC tariff rate became effective on January 1, 2019.

 

Tidewater - Effective January 1, 2019, Tidewater increased its Delaware Public Service Commission (DEPSC) approved Distribution System Improvement Charge rate, which is expected to generate revenues of approximately $0.2 million annually.

 

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In February 2019, Tidewater received approval from the DEPSC to reduce its rates, effective March 1, 2019, to reflect the lower corporate income tax rate enacted by the Tax Act, resulting in a 3.35% rate decrease for certain customer classes.

 

Pinelands - In 2016, the NJBPU approved $0.2 million and $0.1 million of increases, respectively, in Pinelands Water and Pinelands Wastewater’s annual base rates. The rate increases were necessitated by capital infrastructure investments by the companies, increased operations and maintenance costs and lower non-fixed fee revenues. The Pinelands Water base water rate increase was phased-in between 2016 and 2017.

 

Southern Shores - Under the terms of a multi-year DEPSC-approved agreement expiring in 2020, customer rates will increase on January 1st of each year to generate additional annual revenue of $0.1 million with each increase.

 

Twin Lakes - In 2016, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission approved a $0.1 million increase in Twin Lakes’ base water rates. The rate increase was necessitated by capital infrastructure investments Twin Lakes has made, or committed to make, and increased operations and maintenance costs. The rate increase is being phased in with the final phases implemented subsequent to completion of specific utility plant projects.

 

Regulatory Matters

 

We have recorded certain costs as regulatory assets because we expect full recovery of, or are currently recovering, these costs in the rates we charge customers. These deferred costs have been excluded from rate base and, therefore, we are not earning a return on the unamortized balances. These items are detailed as follows:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)   
   December 31,  Remaining
   Regulatory Assets  2018  2017  Recovery Periods
Retirement Benefits  $39,158   $43,070   Various
Income Taxes   55,232    9,876   Various
Rate Cases, Tank Painting, and Other   4,846    5,477   2-10 years
Total  $99,236   $58,423    

 

Retirement benefits include pension and other retirement benefits that have been recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheet in accordance with the guidance provided in ASC 715, Compensation – Retirement Benefits. These amounts represent obligations in excess of current funding, which the Company believes will be fully recovered in rates set by the regulatory authorities.

 

The recovery period for income taxes is dependent upon when the temporary differences between the tax and book treatment of various items reverse.

 

In December 2017, the Tax Act was signed into law making significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code, including a corporate tax rate decrease from 35% to 21% effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. The tariff rates charged to customers in the Company’s regulated companies include recovery of income taxes at the statutory rate at the time those rates are approved by the respective state public utility commissions that regulate each of our regulated subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, the Company has recorded regulatory liabilities of $31.7 million and $31.6 million, respectively for excess income taxes collected through rates due to the lower income tax rate under the Tax Act. These regulatory liabilities are overwhelmingly related to utility plant depreciation deduction timing differences, which are subject to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) normalization rules. The IRS rules limit how quickly the excess taxes attributable to accelerated taxes can be returned to customers. The conclusion of Middlesex’s base rate case and the resulting rates implemented April 1, 2018 reflect the impact of the Tax Act on its revenue requirements. In February 2019, Tidewater received approval from the DEPSC to reduce its rates to reflect the lower corporate income tax rate enacted by the Tax Act (see Rate Matters-Tidewater above).

 

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As part of Middlesex’s March 2018 base water rate settlement with the NJBPU, Middlesex received approval for regulatory accounting treatment of accumulated deferred income tax benefits associated with the adoption of tangible property regulations issued by the IRS (see Rate Matters-Middlesex above), and, as of December 31, 2018, the Company has recorded $34.6 million of related regulatory liabilities.

 

The Company uses composite depreciation rates for its regulated utility assets, which is currently an acceptable method under generally accepted accounting principles and is widely used in the utility industry. Historically, under the composite depreciation method, the anticipated costs of removing assets upon retirement are provided for over the life of those assets as a component of depreciation expense. The Company recovers certain asset retirement costs through rates charged to customers as an approved component of depreciation expense. As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, the Company has approximately $12.8 million and $12.2 million, respectively, of expected costs of removal recovered currently in rates in excess of actual costs incurred as regulatory liabilities.

 

Note 3 – Income Taxes

 

Income tax expense differs from the amount computed by applying the statutory rate on book income subject to tax for the following reasons:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   Years Ended December 31,
   2018  2017  2016
Income Tax at Statutory Rate  $7,009   $11,868   $12,007 
Tax Effect of:               
  Utility Plant Related   422   (1,016)   (1,059)
  Tangible Property Repairs   (7,763)        
  State Income Taxes – Net   1,207    895    770 
  Tax Act   —      (610)   —   
  Other   49    (37)   17 
Total Income Tax Expense  $924   $11,100   $11,735 

 

Income tax expense is comprised of the following:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   Years Ended December 31,
   2018  2017  2016
Current:         
   Federal  $(188)  $2,090   $7,305 
   State   2,073    1,066    877 
Deferred:               
   Federal   (338)   7,713    3,325 
   State   (545)   310    307 
   Investment Tax Credits   (78)   (79)   (79)
Total Income Tax Expense  $924   $11,100   $11,735 

 

As part of Middlesex’s March 2018 base water rate settlement with the NJBPU, Middlesex received approval for regulatory accounting treatment of accumulated deferred income tax benefits associated with the adoption of tangible property regulations issued by the IRS as well as immediate recognition of current year tangible property regulations tax benefits (see Note 2 – Rate and Regulatory Matters). This results in significant reductions in the Company’s effective income tax rate, current income tax expense and deferred income tax expense.

 

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Deferred income taxes reflect the net tax effect of temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities for financial purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes. The components of the net deferred tax liability are as follows:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   December 31,
   2018  2017
Utility Plant Related  $44,777   $41,259 
Customer Advances   (3,702)   (3,749)
Employee Benefits   5,490    4,903 
Investment Tax Credits (ITC)   596    675 
Other   109    72 
Total Deferred Tax Liability and ITC  $47,270   $43,160 

 

The staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recognized the complexity of reflecting the impacts of the Tax Act, and issued guidance in December 2017 which clarified accounting for income taxes if information is not yet available or complete and provides for up to a one year period in which to complete the required analyses and accounting. The guidance described three scenarios associated with a company’s status of accounting for income tax reform: (1) a company is complete with its accounting for certain effects of tax reform, (2) a company is able to determine a reasonable estimate for certain effects of tax reform and records that estimate as a provisional amount, or (3) a company is not able to determine a reasonable estimate and therefore continues to account for income taxes based on the provisions of the tax laws that were in effect immediately prior to the Tax Act being enacted. The one-year analysis period ended in December 2018 and there were no material changes to the Company’s accounting for the Tax Act, which had resulted in the re-measurement of deferred income taxes at the new federal tax rate and decreased deferred income tax expense by $0.6 million for the year ending December 31, 2017 and decreased accumulated deferred income taxes by $24.2 million as of December 31, 2017.

 

As part of its 2014 Federal income tax return, the Company adopted the final IRS tangible property regulations and changed its accounting method for the tax treatment of expenditures that qualified as deductible repairs. The adoption resulted in a net reduction of $17.6 million in taxes previously remitted to the IRS, for which the Company has already sought and received the tax refunds. A reserve provision against refunded taxes of $2.3 million was recorded in 2015 at the time of filing its change in accounting method based on a possible challenge by the IRS during an audit examination. The Company’s 2014 federal income tax return was subsequently selected for examination by the IRS in 2016. In 2018, the Company received information from the IRS regarding certain aspects of the its adopted accounting method used to calculate qualifying tangible property repair cost deductions and increased its reserve provision to $4.1 million. As the IRS examination continues, and pending its completion, the final tax liability could be different than the recorded reserve provision. For the year ended December 31, 2018, the Company has recorded $0.6 million in interest expense related to this reserve provision.

 

The statutory review periods for income tax returns for the years prior to 2012 have been closed. Other than the effects of the provision against refundable taxes discussed above, there are no unrecognized tax benefits resulting from prior period tax positions.

 

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Note 4 - Commitments and Contingent Liabilities

 

Water Supply - Middlesex has an agreement with the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA) for the purchase of untreated water through November 30, 2023, which provides for an average purchase of 27.0 million gallons a day (mgd). Pricing is set annually by the NJWSA through a public rate making process. The agreement has provisions for additional pricing in the event Middlesex overdrafts or exceeds certain monthly and annual thresholds.

 

Middlesex also has an agreement with a non-affiliated water utility regulated by the NJBPU for the purchase of treated water. This agreement, which expires February 27, 2021, provides for the minimum purchase of 3.0 mgd of treated water with provisions for additional purchases.

 

Tidewater contracts with the City of Dover, Delaware to purchase treated water of 15.0 million gallons annually.

 

Purchased water costs are shown below:

 

   (Millions of Dollars) 
   Years Ended December 31, 
Purchased Water  2018   2017   2016 
Untreated  $3.6   $2.8   $2.6 
Treated   3.2    3.3    3.2 
Total Costs  $6.8   $6.1   $5.8 

 

Guarantees - As part of an agreement with the County of Monmouth, New Jersey (County), Middlesex serves as guarantor of the performance of Applied Water Management, Inc. (AWM), an unaffiliated wastewater treatment contractor, to operate a County-owned leachate pretreatment facility at the Monmouth County Reclamation Center in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. The performance guaranty is effective through 2029 unless another guarantor, acceptable to the County, replaces Middlesex before such date. Under agreements with AWM and Natural Systems Utilities, LLC (NSU), the parent company of AWM, Middlesex earns a fee for providing the performance guaranty. In addition, Middlesex may provide operational support to the facility, as needed, and AWM and NSU, serving as guarantor to Middlesex with respect to the performance of AWM, agree to indemnify Middlesex against any claims that may arise under the Middlesex guaranty to the County.

 

If requested to perform under the guaranty to the County and, if AWM and NSU, as guarantor to Middlesex, do not fulfill their obligations to indemnify Middlesex against any claims that may arise under the Middlesex guaranty to the County, Middlesex would be required to fulfill the remaining operational commitment of AWM. The liability and asset for the guaranty are included in Other Non-Current Liabilities and Other Non-Current Assets on the balance sheet and are approximately $1.5 million and $0.1 million as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. The increase in 2018 in the liability and asset for the guaranty resulted from the Company reassessing the expected term that the Company would serve as guarantor.

 

Leases - The Company has entered into office space operating leases. Rental expenses under operating leases were $0.5 million and $0.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. The Company did not incur rental expenses for the year ended December 31, 2016. The operating leases for these facilities expire in 2030. The minimum annual future rental commitment under operating leases that have initial or remaining non-cancelable lease terms over the next 5 years and thereafter are as follows:

 

Year

(Millions of Dollars)

Annual Maturities

2019 $ 0.7
2020 $ 0.8
2021 $ 0.8
2022 $ 0.8
2023 $ 0.8
Thereafter $ 5.3

 

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Construction –The Company has projected to spend approximately $118 million in 2019, $101 million in 2020 and $76 million in 2021 on its construction program. The Company has entered into several contractual construction agreements that in total obligate it to expend an estimated $28 million in the future. The actual amount and timing of capital expenditures is dependent on the need for replacement of existing infrastructure, customer growth, residential new home construction and sales, project scheduling and continued refinement of project scope and costs. There is no assurance that projected customer growth and residential new home construction and sales will occur.

 

Litigation – The Company is a defendant in lawsuits in the normal course of business. We believe the resolution of pending claims and legal proceedings will not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

 

Change in Control Agreements – The Company has Change in Control Agreements with certain of its officers that provide compensation and benefits in the event of termination of employment in connection with a change in control of the Company.

 

Note 5 – Short-term Borrowings

 

Information regarding the Company’s short-term borrowings for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 is summarized below:

 

   (Millions of  Dollars)
   2018  2017
Established Lines at Year-End  $92.0   $92.0 
Maximum Amount Outstanding   48.5    28.0 
Average Outstanding   37.3    18.6 
Notes Payable at Year-End   48.5    28.0 
Weighted Average Interest Rate   3.17%   2.15%
Weighted Average Interest Rate at Year-End   3.57%   2.54%

 

The maturity dates for the Notes Payable as of December 31, 2018 are in January 2019 through March 2019 and are extendable at the discretion of the Company.

 

Interest rates for short-term borrowings are below the prime rate with no requirement for compensating balances.

 

The Company increased its available lines of credit to $100.0 million in February 2019.

 

Note 6 - Capitalization

 

All the transactions discussed below related to the issuance of securities were approved by either the NJBPU or DEPSC, except where otherwise noted.

 

Common Stock

 

The Company issues shares of its common stock in connection with its Middlesex Water Company Investment Plan (the Investment Plan), a direct share purchase and sale and dividend reinvestment plan for Middlesex common stock. Since the inception of the Investment Plan and its predecessor plan, the Company has periodically replenished the level of authorized shares in the plans. Currently, there are three million shares registered with the SEC, of which there remains 0.6 million for potential issuance to participants. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, the Company raised approximately $1.2 million, $1.2 million and $1.5 million, respectively, through the issuance of shares under the Investment Plan.  The Company is offering shares of its common stock at a 5% discount to participants in the Investment Plan for purchases made by participants commencing January 2, 2019 which will continue until 200,000 shares are purchased at the discounted price or December 30, 2019, whichever event occurs first.  This offer applies to all common stock purchases made under the Investment Plan, whether by optional cash payment or by dividend reinvestment.    

 

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The Company issues shares under a restricted stock plan for certain management employees, which is described in Note 7 – Employee Benefit Plans.

 

The Company maintains a stock plan for its outside directors (the Outside Director Stock Compensation Plan). For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, 4,004, 3,976, and 3,976 shares, respectively, of Middlesex common stock were granted and issued to the Company’s outside directors under the Outside Director Stock Compensation Plan and 60,164 shares remain available for future awards. The maximum number of shares authorized for grant under the Outside Director Stock Compensation Plan is 100,000.

 

In the event dividends on the preferred stock are in arrears, no dividends may be declared or paid on the common stock of the Company.

 

Preferred Stock

 

At December 31, 2018 and 2017, there were 0.1 million shares of preferred stock authorized and less than 0.1 million shares of preferred stock outstanding. There were no preferred stock dividends in arrears.

 

The Company may not pay any dividends on its common stock unless full cumulative dividends to the preceding dividend date for all outstanding shares of preferred stock have been paid or set aside for payment. If four or more quarterly dividends are in arrears, the preferred shareholders, as a class, are entitled to elect two members to the Board of Directors in addition to Directors elected by holders of the common stock. In addition, if Middlesex were to liquidate, holders of preferred stock would be paid back the stated value of their preferred shares before any distributions could be made to common stockholders.

 

The conversion feature of the no par $7.00 Series Cumulative and Convertible Preferred Stock allows the security holders to exchange one convertible preferred share for twelve shares of the Company's common stock. In addition, the Company may redeem up to 10% of the outstanding convertible stock in any calendar year at a price equal to the fair value of twelve shares of the Company's common stock for each share of convertible stock redeemed.

 

The conversion feature of the no par $8.00 Series Cumulative and Convertible Preferred Stock allows the security holders to exchange one convertible preferred share for 13.714 shares of the Company's common stock. The preferred shares are convertible into common stock at the election of the security holder or Middlesex.

 

Long-term Debt

 

Subject to regulatory approval, the Company periodically issues long-term debt to fund its investments in utility plant and other assets. To the extent possible, the Company finances qualifying capital projects under State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan programs in New Jersey and Delaware. These government programs provide financing at interest rates that are typically below rates available in the broader financial markets. A portion of the borrowings under the New Jersey SRF is interest-free. Under the New Jersey SRF program, borrowers first enter into a construction loan agreement with the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (NJIB) at a below market interest rate. The NJIB was formerly known as the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust. The current interest rate on construction loan borrowings is zero percent (0%). When construction on the qualifying project is substantially complete, NJIB will coordinate the conversion of the construction loan into a long-term securitized loan with a portion of the principal balance having a stated interest rate of zero percent (0%) and a portion of the principal balance at a market interest rate at the time of closing using the credit rating of the State of New Jersey. The current term of the long-term loans offered through the NJIB is up to thirty years. The current portion of the principal balance having a stated interest rate of zero percent (0%) is 75% with the remaining portion of 25% having a market based interest rate. NJIB generally schedules its long-term debt financings in May and November.

 

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In September 2018, the NJIB announced changes to the SRF program for project funding priority ranking, the proportions of interest free loans and market interest rate loans and overall loan limits on interest free loan balances to investor-owned water utilities. These changes affect SRF projects for which the construction loan closes after September 2018. Under the new guidelines, the principal balance having a stated interest rate of zero percent (0%) is 25% of the loan balance with the remaining portion of 75% having a market based interest rate. This is limited to the first $10.0 million of the loan. Loan amounts above $10.0 million do not participate in the 0% rate program, but do participate at the market based interest rate. The only project financing currently affected by these changes is the upgrade to the Company’s Carl J. Olsen (CJO) water treatment plant. In April 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s request to participate in the NJIB loan program and borrow up to $55.0 million for this upgrade project. It is uncertain at this time if the CJO water treatment plant upgrade project will continue to qualify for the funding under the new SRF program ranking system. The Company is awaiting further guidance from the NJIB.

 

In order to maintain the estimated financing time schedule for the CJO water treatment plant upgrade project and other projects that were expected to qualify under the prior SRF program ranking system, Middlesex requested approval from the NJBPU to issue and sell up to $140 million of First Mortgage Bonds through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) in whole or in phases periodically through December 31, 2022. The request was filed with the NJBPU in December 2018 and approved in February 2019. The Company expects to issue and sell the first phase of First Mortgage Bonds by the third quarter of 2019. The amount of the offering could be between $25 million and $75 million depending on the guidance received from the NJIB.

 

In May 2018, Middlesex closed out its $9.5 million RENEW 2017 construction loan by issuing to the NJIB first mortgage bonds designated as Series 2018A ($7.1 million) and Series 2018B ($2.4 million). The interest rate on the Series 2018A bond is zero and the interest rate on the Series 2018B bond ranges between 3.0% and 5.0%. Through December 31, 2018, Middlesex has drawn down a total of $9.3 million and expects to draw down the remaining proceeds during the first quarter of 2019. The final maturity date for both bonds is August 1, 2047, with scheduled debt service payments over the life of the loans.

 

In April 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s request to participate in the NJIB loan program to fund the construction of a large-diameter transmission pipeline from the CJO water treatment plant and interconnect with our distribution system. Middlesex closed on a $43.5 million NJIB construction loan in August 2018. Through December 31, 2018, Middlesex has drawn down a total of $10.5 million and expects to draw down the remaining proceeds through the end of 2019.

 

In March 2018, the NJBPU approved Middlesex’s request to borrow up to $14.0 million under the NJIB program to fund the 2018 RENEW Program, which is an ongoing initiative to eliminate all unlined water distribution mains in the Middlesex system. Middlesex closed on an $8.7 million NJIB construction loan in September 2018. Through December 31, 2018, Middlesex has drawn down a total of $6.1 million and expects to draw down the remaining proceeds during the remainder of 2019. The NJIB has informed the Company that the RENEW 2018 construction loan is scheduled for the May 2019 long-term debt financing program.

 

In March 2018, the DEPSC approved Tidewater’s request to borrow up to $0.9 million under the Delaware SRF program to fund the replacement of an entire water distribution system of a small Delaware subdivision. Tidewater closed on the SRF loan in May 2018. Management is currently evaluating revised project cost estimates and the potential need for additional Delaware SRF program funding.

 

In November 2017, Middlesex closed out three of its NJIB construction loans (booster station upgrade, RENEW 2015 and RENEW 2016 projects) by issuing to the NJIB first mortgage bonds designated as Series XX ($11.3 million) and Series YY ($3.9 million). The interest rate on the Series XX bond is zero and the interest rate on the Series YY bond range between 3.0% and 5.0%. Through December 31, 2018, Middlesex has drawn down $15.1 million and expects to draw down the remaining proceeds during the first quarter of 2019. The final maturity date for both bonds is August 1, 2047, with scheduled debt service payments over the life of the loan.

 

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In February 2016, Tidewater closed on a $1.2 million General Obligation Note loan with the Delaware SRF program to fund the replacement of the water distribution system in a manufactured home community. Tidewater has drawn $1.1 million on this loan and the project is considered complete. The interest rate on the $1.1 million is 2.0% with a final repayment maturity date of February 1, 2036.

 

Bond Series QQ, RR and SS are term bonds with single maturity dates subsequent to 2022. Principal repayments for all series of the Company’s long-term debt except for Bond Series Z, AA, BB, CC and EE extend beyond 2023. The aggregate annual principal repayment obligations for all long-term debt over the next five years are shown below:

 

Year

(Millions of Dollars)

Annual Maturities

2019 $ 7.3
2020 $ 7.2
2021 $ 7.2
2022 $ 6.7
2023 $ 6.2

 

The weighted average interest rate on all long-term debt at December 31, 2018 and 2017 was 3.30% and 3.77%, respectively. Except for the Amortizing Secured Notes ($36.6 million), all of the Company’s outstanding long-term debt has been issued through the NJEDA ($55.4 million), the NJIB SRF program ($62.5 million) and the Delaware SRF program ($8.4 million).

 

In 2016, the NJIB de-obligated principal payments of $0.5 million on several series of SRF long-term debt.

 

Substantially all of the utility plant of the Company is subject to the lien of its mortgage, which includes debt service and capital ratio covenants. The Company is in compliance with all of its mortgage covenants and restrictions.

 

Earnings Per Share

 

The following table presents the calculation of basic and diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the three years ended December 31, 2018. Basic EPS is computed on the basis of the weighted average number of shares outstanding. Diluted EPS assumes the conversion of both the Convertible Preferred Stock $7.00 Series and $8.00 Series.

 

   (In Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)
   2018  2017  2016
Basic:  Income  Shares  Income  Shares  Income  Shares
Net Income  $32,452    16,384   $22,809    16,330   $22,742    16,270 
Preferred Dividend   (144)        (144)        (144)     
Earnings Applicable to Common Stock  $32,308    16,384   $22,665    16,330   $22,598    16,270 
Basic EPS  $1.97        $1.39        $1.39      
Diluted:                              
Earnings Applicable to Common Stock  $32,308    16,384   $22,665    16,330   $22,598    16,270 
$7.00 Series Dividend   67    115    67    115    67    115 
$8.00 Series Dividend   24    41    24    41    24    41 
Adjusted Earnings Applicable to Common Stock  $32,399    16,540   $22,756    16,486   $22,689    16,426 
Diluted EPS  $1.96        $1.38        $1.38      

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Fair Value of Financial Instruments

 

The following methods and assumptions were used by the Company in estimating its fair value disclosure for financial instruments for which it is practicable to estimate that value. The carrying amounts reflected in the consolidated balance sheets for cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, accounts payable and notes payable approximate their respective fair values due to the short-term maturities of these instruments. The fair value of First Mortgage and State Revolving Fund Bonds (collectively, the Bonds) issued by Middlesex is based on quoted market prices for similar issues. Under the fair value hierarchy, the fair value of cash and cash equivalents is classified as a Level 1 measurement and the fair value of notes payable and the Bonds in the table below are classified as Level 2 measurements. The carrying amount and fair value of the Bonds were as follows:

 

 

  

(Thousands of Dollars)

At December 31,

   2018  2017
   Carrying  Fair  Carrying  Fair
   Amount  Value  Amount  Value
Bonds  $101,411   $102,789   $95,322   $98,036 

 

For other long-term debt issuances for which there is no quoted market price and there is not an active trading market, it was not practicable to estimate their fair value. For details, including carrying value, interest rate and due date on these series of long-term debt, please refer to those series of long-term debt described as “Amortizing Secured Note”, “State Revolving Trust Note” and “Construction Loans” on the Consolidated Statements of Capital Stock and Long-Term Debt. The carrying amount of these instruments was $61.5 million and $52.5 million at December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017, respectively. Customer advances for construction have carrying amounts of $22.6 million and $21.4 million at December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017, respectively. Their relative fair values cannot be accurately estimated since future refund payments depend on several variables, including new customer connections, customer consumption levels and future rate increases.

 

Note 7 - Employee Benefit Plans

 

Pension Benefits

The Company’s Pension Plan covers all active employees hired prior to April 1, 2007. Employees hired after March 31, 2007 are not eligible to participate in this plan, but can participate in a defined contribution profit sharing plan that provides an annual contribution at the discretion of the Company, based upon a percentage of the participants’ annual paid compensation. In order to be eligible for contribution, the eligible employee must be employed by the Company on December 31st of the year to which the contribution relates. The Company maintains an unfunded supplemental plan for its executive officers. The Accumulated Benefit Obligation for the Company’s Pension Plan at December 31, 2018 and 2017 was $73.1 million and $75.7 million, respectively.

 

Other Benefits

The Company’s Other Benefits Plan covers substantially all of its current retired employees. Employees hired after March 31, 2007 are not eligible to participate in this plan. Coverage includes healthcare and life insurance. Accrued retirement benefit costs are recorded each year.

 

Regulatory Treatment of Over/Underfunded Retirement Obligations

 

Because the Company is subject to regulation in the states in which it operates, it is required to maintain its accounts in accordance with the regulatory authority’s rules and guidelines, which may differ from other authoritative accounting pronouncements. In those instances, the Company follows the guidance of ASC 980, Regulated Operations. Based on prior regulatory practice, and in accordance with the guidance in ASC 980, Regulated Operations, the Company records underfunded Pension Plan and Other Benefits Plan obligation costs, which otherwise would be recognized in Other Comprehensive Income under ASC 715, Compensation – Retirement Benefits, as a Regulatory Asset, and expects to recover those costs in rates charged to customers.

 

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The Company uses a December 31 measurement date for all of its employee benefit plans. The tables below set forth information relating to the Company’s Pension Plan and Other Benefits Plan for 2018 and 2017.

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   Pension Plan  Other Benefits Plan
   December 31,
   2018  2017  2018  2017
Change in Projected Benefit Obligation:                    
Beginning Balance  $88,013   $78,601   $54,345   $48,888 
Service Cost   2,426    2,399    1,135    1,089 
Interest Cost   3,061    3,143    1,898    1,964 
Actuarial (Gain) Loss   (7,018)   6,203    (8,160)   3,052 
Benefits Paid   (2,555)   (2,333)   (744)   (648)
Ending Balance  $83,927   $88,013   $48,474   $54,345 

 

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   Pension Plan  Other Benefits Plan
   December 31,
   2018  2017  2018  2017
Change in Fair Value of Plan Assets:            
Beginning Balance  $69,215   $59,370   $36,083   $31,607 
Actual Return on Plan Assets   (3,524)   8,543    (2,161)   3,521 
Employer Contributions   3,635    3,635    1,444    1,603 
Benefits Paid   (2,555)   (2,333)   (744)   (648)
Ending Balance  $66,771   $69,215   $34,622   $36,083 
                     
Funded Status  $(17,156)  $(18,798)  $(13,852)  $(18,262)

 

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   Pension Plan  Other Benefits Plan
   December 31,
   2018  2017  2018  2017
Amounts Recognized in the Consolidated Balance Sheets consist of :            
Current Liability   347    374    —      —   
Noncurrent Liability   16,809    18,424    13,852    18,262 
Net Liability Recognized  $17,156   $18,798   $13,852   $18,262 

 

56 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   Pension Plan  Other Benefits Plan
   Years Ended December 31,
   2018  2017  2016  2018  2017  2016
Components of Net Periodic Benefit Cost                  
Service Cost  $2,426   $2,399   $2,308   $1,135   $1,089   $1,099 
Interest Cost   3,061    3,143    3,046    1,898    1,964    1,952 
Expected Return on Plan Assets   (4,871)   (4,489)   (4,014)   (2,550)   (2,406)   (2,213)
Amortization of Net Actuarial Loss   1,658    1,566    1,426    1,787    1,781    1,773 
Amortization of Prior Service Credit   —      —      —      (1,607)   (1,728)   (1,728)
Net Periodic Benefit Cost*  $2,274   $2,619   $2,766   $663   $700   $883 

 

*Service cost is included in Operations and Maintenance expense on the consolidated statements of income; all other amounts are included in Other Income (Expense), net.

 

Amounts that are expected to be amortized from Regulatory Assets into Net Periodic Benefit Cost in 2019 are as follows:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
  

 

Pension
Plan

  Other
Benefits
Plan
Actuarial Loss  $1,618   $1,319 

 

The discount rate and compensation increase rate for determining our postretirement benefit plans’ benefit obligations and costs as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively, are as follows:

 

   Pension Plan   Other Benefits Plan 
   2018   2017   2016   2018   2017   2016 
Weighted Average Assumptions:                              
   Expected Return on Plan Assets   7.00%   7.50%   7.50%   7.00%   7.50%   7.50%
   Discount Rate for:                              
     Benefit Obligation   4.15%   3.53%   4.06%   4.15%   3.53%   4.06%
     Benefit Cost   3.53%   4.06%   4.26%   3.53%   4.06%   4.26%
   Compensation Increase for:                              
     Benefit Obligation   3.00%   3.00%   3.00%   3.00%   3.00%   3.00%
     Benefit Cost   3.00%   3.00%   3.00%   3.00%   3.00%   3.00%

 

The compensation increase assumption for the Other Benefits Plan is attributable to life insurance provided to qualifying employees upon their retirement. The insurance coverage will be determined based on the employee’s base compensation as of their retirement date.

 

The Company utilizes the Society of Actuaries’ mortality table (RP 2014) (Mortality Improvement Scale MP2018 for the 2018 valuation).

 

For the 2018 valuation, costs and obligations for our Other Benefits Plan assumed a 8.0% annual rate of increase in the per capita cost of covered healthcare benefits in 2019 with the annual rate of increase declining 1.0% per year for 2020-2021 and 0.5% per year for 2022-2023, resulting in an annual rate of increase in the per capita cost of covered healthcare benefits of 5% by year 2023.

 

57 

 

A one-percentage point change in assumed healthcare cost trend rates would have the following effects on the Other Benefits Plan:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   1 Percentage Point
   Increase  Decrease
Effect on Current Year Service and Interest Costs  $658   $(504)
Effect on Projected Benefit Obligation  $7,593   $(6,054)

 

The following benefit payments, which reflect expected future service, are expected to be paid:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
Year  Pension Plan  Other Benefits Plan
2019  $2,771   $1,353 
2020   2,983    1,614 
2021   2,976    1,800 
2022   3,376    2,032 
2023   3,778    2,103 
2024-2028   26,037    11,817 
  Totals  $41,921   $20,719 

 

Benefit Plans Assets

 

The allocation of plan assets at December 31, 2018 and 2017 by asset category is as follows:

 

   Pension Plan   Other Benefits Plan 
Asset Category  2018   2017   Target    2018   2017   Target  
Equity Securities   59.5%   62.8%   55%   54.7%   57.7%   43%
Debt Securities   36.5%   33.6%   38%   37.3%   32.9%   50%
Cash   1.6%   1.0%   2%   8.0%   9.4%   2%
Real Estate/Commodities   2.4%   2.6%   5%   0.0%   0.0%   5%
Total   100.0%   100.0%        100.0%   100.0%     

 

Two outside investment firms each manage a portion of the Pension Plan asset portfolio. One of those investment firms also manages the Other Benefits Plan asset portfolio. Quarterly meetings are held between the Company’s Pension Committee of the Board of Directors and the investment managers to review their performance and asset allocation. If the actual asset allocation is outside the targeted range, the Pension Committee reviews current market conditions and advice provided by the investment managers to determine the appropriateness of rebalancing the portfolio.

 

The objective of the Company is to maximize the long-term return on retirement plan assets, relative to a reasonable level of risk, maintain a diversified investment portfolio and maintain compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The expected long-term rate of return is based on the various asset categories in which plan assets are invested and the current expectations and historical performance for these categories.

 

Equity securities include Middlesex common stock in the amounts of $1.0 million (1.6% of total Pension Plan assets) and $0.8 million (1.1% of total Pension Plan assets) and as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

 

58 

 

Fair Value Measurements

 

Accounting guidance provides a fair value hierarchy that prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value. The hierarchy gives the highest priority to unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1 measurements) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3 measurements). The three levels of the fair value hierarchy are described as follows:

 

·Level 1 – Inputs to the valuation methodology are unadjusted quoted market prices for identical assets or liabilities in accessible active markets.
·Level 2 – Inputs to the valuation methodology that are observable, either directly or indirectly, such as quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities; quoted prices in markets that are not active; or other inputs that are observable or can be corroborated by observable market data for substantially the full term of the assets or liabilities. If the asset or liability has a specified contractual term, the Level 2 input must be observable for substantially the full term of the asset or liability.
·Level 3 – Inputs to the valuation methodology are unobservable and significant to the fair value measurement.

 

Certain investments in cash and cash equivalents, equity securities, and commodities are valued based on quoted market prices in active markets and are classified as Level 1 investments. Certain investments in cash and cash equivalents, equity securities and fixed income securities are valued using prices received from pricing vendors that utilize observable inputs and are therefore classified as Level 2 investments.

 

The following tables present Middlesex’s Pension Plan assets measured and recorded at fair value within the fair value hierarchy:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   As of December 31, 2018
   Level 1  Level 2  Level 3  Total
Mutual Funds  $57,014   $   $   $57,014 
Money Market Funds   1,074            1,074 
Common Equity Securities   8,683            8,683 
Total Investments  $66,771   $   $   $66,771 

 

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   As of December 31, 2017
   Level 1  Level 2  Level 3  Total
Mutual Funds  $57,608   $   $   $57,608 
Money Market Funds   677            677 
Common Equity Securities   10,930            10,930 
Total Investments  $69,215   $   $   $69,215 

 

59 

The following tables present Middlesex’s Other Benefits Plan assets measured and recorded at fair value within the fair value hierarchy:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   As of December 31, 2018
   Level 1  Level 2  Level 3  Total
             
Mutual Funds  $18,924   $   $   $18,924 
Money Market Funds   2,769            2,769 
Agency/US/State/Municipal Debt       12,929        12,929 
Total Investments  $21,693   $12,929   $   $34,622 

 

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   As of December 31, 2017
   Level 1  Level 2  Level 3  Total
             
Mutual Funds  $20,819   $   $   $20,819 
Money Market Funds   3,388            3,388 
Preferred Equity Securities   115            115 
Agency/US/State/Municipal Debt       11,761        11,761 
Total Investments  $24,322   $11,761   $   $36,083 

 

Benefit Plans Contributions

For the Pension Plan, Middlesex made total cash contributions of $3.6 million in 2018 and expects to make approximately $3.6 million of cash contributions in 2019.

 

For the Other Benefits Plan, Middlesex made total cash contributions of $1.4 million in 2018 and expects to make approximately $1.4 million of cash contributions in 2019.

 

401(k) Plan

The Company maintains a 401(k) defined contribution plan, which covers substantially all employees with more than 1,000 hours of service. Under the terms of the Plan, the Company matches 100% of a participant’s contributions, which do not exceed 1% of a participant’s compensation, plus 50% of a participant’s contributions exceeding 1%, but not more than 6%. The Company’s matching contribution was $0.6 million for each of the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016.

 

For those employees hired after March 31, 2007, and still actively employed on December 31, 2018, the Company approved, and will fund, a discretionary contribution of $0.6 million which was based on 5.0% of eligible 2018 compensation. For the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, the Company made discretionary contributions of $0.5 million and $0.4 million, respectively, for qualifying employees.

 

Stock-Based Compensation

The Company has a stock compensation plan for certain management employees (the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan). Shares issued in connection with the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan are subject to forfeiture by the employee in the event of termination of employment within five years of the award other than as a result of normal retirement, death, disability or change in control. The maximum number of shares authorized for grant under the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan is 0.3 million shares, all of which remain available for award.

 

60 

The Company recognizes compensation expense at fair value for the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan awards in accordance with ASC 718, Compensation – Stock Compensation. Compensation expense is determined by the market value of the stock on the date of the award and is being amortized over a five-year period.

 

The following table presents information on the 2018 Restricted Stock Plan:

 

  

 

Shares

(thousands)

 

Unearned
Compensation

(thousands)

  Weighted
Average
Grant Price
Balance, January 1, 2016   148   $1,696      
Granted   24    750   $30.85 
Vested   (25)         
Forfeited             
Amortization of Compensation Expense       (682)     
Balance, December 31, 2016   147   $1,764      
Granted   22    799   $36.95 
Vested   (20)         
Forfeited   (2)   (54)     
Amortization of Compensation Expense       (724)     
Balance, December 31, 2017   147   $1,785      
Granted   22    827   $36.53 
Vested   (27)         
Forfeited   (2)   (18)     
Amortization of Compensation Expense       (956)     
Balance, December 31, 2018   140   $1,638      

 

The fair value of vested restricted shares was $1.3 million and $0.8 million as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

 

Note 8 – Business Segment Data

 

The Company has identified two reportable segments. One is the regulated business of collecting, treating and distributing water on a retail and wholesale basis to residential, commercial, industrial and fire protection customers in parts of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. This segment also includes regulated wastewater systems in New Jersey and Delaware. The Company is subject to regulations as to its rates, services and other matters by the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania with respect to utility service within these states. The other segment is primarily comprised of non-regulated contract services for the operation and maintenance of municipal and private water and wastewater systems in New Jersey and Delaware.

 

Inter-segment transactions relating to operational costs are treated as pass-through expenses. Finance charges on inter-segment loan activities are based on interest rates that are below what would normally be charged by a third party lender.

61 

 

   (Thousands of Dollars)
   Years Ended December 31,
Operations by Segments:  2018  2017  2016
Revenues:               
   Regulated  $121,901   $115,454   $118,017 
   Non – Regulated   16,778    15,912    15,388 
Inter-segment Elimination   (602)   (591)   (499)
Consolidated Revenues  $138,077   $130,775   $132,906 
                
Operating Income:               
   Regulated  $34,127   $35,130   $37,871 
   Non – Regulated   3,015    2,668    2,431 
Consolidated Operating Income  $37,142   $37,798   $40,302 
                
Depreciation:               
   Regulated  $14,846   $13,732   $12,606 
   Non – Regulated   191    190    190 
 Consolidated Depreciation  $15,037   $13,922   $12,796 
                
Other Income (Expense), Net:               
   Regulated  $3,284   $2,020   $1,109 
   Non – Regulated   119    64    (1,308)
Inter-segment Elimination   (411)   (467)   (333)
Consolidated Other Income (Expense), Net  $2,992   $1,617   $(532)
                
Interest Expense:               
   Regulated  $7,060   $5,855   $5,293 
   Non – Regulated   109    118    89 
Inter-segment Elimination   (411)   (467)   (89)
Consolidated Interest Charges  $6,758   $5,506   $5,293 
                
Income Taxes:               
   Regulated  $(54)  $9,848   $11,091 
   Non – Regulated   978    1,252    644 
Consolidated Income Taxes  $924   $11,100   $11,735 
          
Net Income:         
   Regulated  $30,405   $21,447   $22,353 
   Non – Regulated   2,047    1,362    389 
Consolidated Net Income  $32,452   $22,809   $22,742 
          
Capital Expenditures:         
   Regulated  $71,493   $50,078   $47,189 
   Non – Regulated   601    223    186 
Total Capital Expenditures  $72,094   $50,301   $47,375 
  

 

(Thousands of Dollars)

       
  

As of

December 31, 2018

 

As of

December 31, 2017

       
Assets:              
   Regulated  $764,749   $661,816         
   Non – Regulated   8,994    7,093         
   Inter-segment Elimination   (5,913)   (7,769)        
Consolidated Assets  $767,830   $661,140         

62 

Note 9 - Quarterly Data - Unaudited

 

Financial information for each quarter of 2018 and 2017 is as follows:

 

   (Thousands of Dollars, Except per Share Data)
2018  1st  2nd  3rd  4th  Total
                
Operating Revenues  $31,177   $34,919   $38,713   $33,268   $138,077 
Operating Income   6,350    10,721    12,918    7,153    37,142 
Net Income   4,494    8,675    12,290    6,993    32,452 
Basic Earnings per Share  $0.27   $0.52   $0.75   $0.43   $1.97 
Diluted Earnings per Share  $0.27   $0.52   $0.74   $0.43   $1.96 
Common Dividend Per Share  $0.2238   $0.2238   $0.2238   $0.2400   $0.9114 
High/Low Common Stock Price  $41.45/$33.96   $45.24/$34.74   $49.00/$41.77   $60.31/$43.12      
                          

 

2017  1st  2nd  3rd  4th  Total
                
Operating Revenues  $ 30, 131    $33,014   $36,174   $ 31, 456    $130,775 
Operating Income   7,575    9,358    12,601    8,264    37,798 
Net Income   4,441    5,381    7,642    5,345    22,809 
Basic Earnings per Share  $0.27   $0.33   $0.47   $0.32   $1.39 
Diluted Earnings per Share  $0.27   $0.33   $0.46   $0.32   $1.38 
Common Dividend Per Share  $0.2113   $0.2113   $0.2113   $0.2238   $0.8577 
High/Low Common Stock Price  $42.80/$34.55   $41.50/$32.23   $40.87/$36.99   $46.74/$39.10      

 

The information above, in the opinion of the Company, includes all adjustments consisting only of normal recurring accruals necessary for a fair presentation of such amounts. The business of the Company is subject to seasonal fluctuation with the peak period usually occurring during the summer months. The quarterly earnings per share amounts above may differ slightly from previous filings due to the effects of rounding.

 

ITEM 9.CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.

 

None.

 

63 

 

ITEM 9A.CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

 

(1) Disclosure controls and procedures are controls and other procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in Company reports filed or submitted under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported, within the time periods specified in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules and forms. Disclosure controls and procedures include, without limitation, controls and procedures designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in Company reports filed under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to management, including the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer as appropriate, to allow timely decisions regarding disclosure.

As required by Rule 13a-15 under the Exchange Act, an evaluation of the effectiveness of the design and operation of the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures was conducted by the Company’s Chief Executive Officer along with the Company’s Chief Financial Officer for the quarter ended December 31, 2018. Based upon that evaluation the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and the Company’s Chief Financial Officer concluded:

(a) Disclosure controls and procedures were effective as of the end of the period covered by this report.

(b) No changes in internal control over financial reporting occurred during our most recent fiscal quarter that has materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, internal control over financial reporting.

Accordingly, management believes the consolidated financial statements included in this report fairly present in all material respects our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows for the periods presented.

 

(2) Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

 

The management of Middlesex Water Company (Middlesex or the Company) is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting as defined in Exchange Act Rule 13A-15(f) and 15d-15(f). Middlesex’s internal control system was designed to provide reasonable assurance to the Company’s management and Board of Directors of adequate preparation and fair presentation of the published financial statements.

 

All internal control systems, no matter how well designed, have inherent limitations. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to the adequacy of financial statement preparation and presentation. Middlesex’s management assessed the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018. In making this assessment, management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) in Internal Control-Integrated Framework (2013 framework). Based on our assessment, we believe that as of December 31, 2018, the Company’s internal control over financial reporting is operating as designed and is effective based on those criteria.

 

Middlesex’s independent registered public accounting firm has audited the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018 as stated in their report which is included herein.

 

  /s/ Dennis W. Doll /s/ A. Bruce O’Connor
Dennis W. Doll A. Bruce O’Connor
President and Senior Vice President, Treasurer and
Chief Executive Officer Chief Financial Officer

 

Iselin, New Jersey

March 8, 2019

 

ITEM 9B.OTHER INFORMATION.

 

None.

 

64 

 

PART III

 

ITEM 10.DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE.

 

Information with respect to Directors of Middlesex Water Company is included in Middlesex Water Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

Information regarding the Executive Officers of Middlesex Water Company is included under Item 1. in Part I of this Annual Report.

 

ITEM 11.EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION.

 

This Information for Middlesex Water Company is included in Middlesex Water Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

ITEM 12.SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS.

 

This information for Middlesex Water Company is included in Middlesex Water Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

ITEM 13.CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE.

 

This information for Middlesex Water Company is included in Middlesex Water Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

ITEM 14.PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES.

 

This information for Middlesex Water Company is included in Middlesex Water Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

65 

 

PART IV

 

ITEM 15.EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES.

 

1.The following Financial Statements and Supplementary Data are included in Part II- Item 8. of this

Annual Report:

Consolidated Balance Sheets at December 31, 2018 and 2017.

Consolidated Statements of Income for each of the three years in the period ended

December 31, 2018.

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for each of the three years in the period ended

December 31, 2018.

Consolidated Statements of Capital Stock and Long-term Debt as of December 31, 2018 and 2017.

Consolidated Statements of Common Stockholders’ Equity for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2018.

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

2.  Financial Statement Schedules

 

All Schedules are omitted because of the absence of the conditions under which they are required or because the required information is shown in the financial statements or notes thereto.

 

3.  Exhibits

 

See Exhibit listing immediately following the signature page.

 

ITEM 16.FORM 10-K SUMMARY.

 

None.

 

66 

 

SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

 

MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY  
     
By: /s/ Dennis W. Doll  
  Dennis W. Doll  
  President and Chief Executive Officer  
     
Date: March 8, 2019  
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, this report has been signed below by the following persons, on behalf of the registrant and in the capacities indicated on March 9, 2018.
     
By: /s/ A. Bruce O’Connor  
  A. Bruce O’Connor  
  Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer  
  (Principal Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer)  
     
By: /s/ Dennis W. Doll  
  Dennis W. Doll  
  Chairman of the Board, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director  
  (Principal Executive Officer)  
     
By: /s/ James F. Cosgrove Jr.  
  James F. Cosgrove Jr.  
  Director  
     
By: /s/ Kim C. Hanemann  
  Kim C. Hanemann  
  Director  
     
By: /s/ Steven M. Klein  
  Steven M. Klein  
  Director  
     
By: /s/ Amy B. Mansue  
  Amy B. Mansue  
  Director  
     
By: /s/ Walter G. Reinhard  
  Walter G. Reinhard  
  Director  
By: /s/ Jeffries Shein  
  Jeffries Shein  
  Director  

 

67 

 

EXHIBIT INDEX

 

Exhibits designated with an asterisk (*) are filed herewith. The exhibits not so designated have heretofore been filed with the Commission and are incorporated herein by reference to the documents indicated in the previous filing columns following the description of such exhibits. Exhibits designated with a dagger (t) are management contracts or compensatory plans.

 

 

 

Exhibit No.

 

 

Document Description

Previous

Registration

No.

Filing’s

Exhibit

No.

3.1 Certificate of Amendment to the Restated Certificate of Incorporation, filed with the State of New Jersey on June 19, 1997, included as Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed April 30, 2010.    
3.2 Certificate of Amendment to the Restated Certificate of Incorporation, filed with the State of New Jersey on May 27, 1998, filed as Exhibit 3.1 of the Company’s 1998 Form 10-K.    
3.3 Certificate of Correction of Middlesex Water Company filed with the State of New Jersey on April 30, 1999, filed as Exhibit 3.3 of the Company’s 2003 Form 10-K/A-2.    
3.4 Certificate of Amendment to the Restated Certificate of Incorporation Middlesex Water Company, filed with the State of New Jersey on February 17, 2000, filed as Exhibit 3.4 of the Company’s 2003 Form 10-K/A-2.    
3.5 Certificate of Amendment to the Restated Certificate of Incorporation Middlesex Water Company, filed with the State of New Jersey on June 5, 2002, filed as Exhibit 3.5 of the Company’s 2003 Form 10-K/A-2.    
3.6 Certificate of Amendment to the Restated Certificate of Incorporation, filed with the State of New Jersey on June 10, 1998, filed as Exhibit 3.1 of the Company’s 1998 Form 10-K.    
3.7 Bylaws of the Company, as amended, filed as Exhibit 4.1 of the Company’s 2010 Second Quarter Form 10-Q.    
4.1 Form of Common Stock Certificate. 2-55058 2(a)
10.1 Copy of Purchased Water Agreement between the Company and Elizabethtown Water Company, filed as Exhibit 10 of the Company’s 2006 First Quarter Form 10-Q.    
10.2 Copy of Mortgage, dated April 1, 1927, between the Company and Union County Trust Company, as Trustee, as supplemented by Supplemental Indentures, dated as of October 1, 1939 and April 1, 1949. 2-15795 4(a)-4(f)
10.3 Copy of Supplemental Indenture, dated as of July 1, 1964 and June 15, 1991, between the Company and Union County Trust Company, as Trustee. 33-54922 10.4-10.9
10.4