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Philadelphia, Feb. 5, 2015 City Council on Thursday confirmed Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s first appointments to the Philadelphia Water, Sewer & Storm Water Rate Board, which has independent authority to approve rate changes requested by the City’s Water Department.

Philadelphia voters overwhelmingly approved creation of the board in the November 2012 election. Council President Darrell L. Clarke proposed the independent authority after the Water Department sought a 28.5 percent rate increase earlier that year.

Under the previous law, water rates were determined unilaterally by the Water Commissioner.

“Our City currently has a very well-run Water Department and an extremely capable Water Commissioner in Howard Neukrug. The purpose of an independent board is to have a check against future Water Commissioners,” Council President Clarke said.

“The Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board will insert balance into the process of rate-setting and add protections for consumers. Every member of this board is highly qualified and, most importantly, cares deeply about Philadelphians,” Council President Clarke continued.

The Water, Sewer & Storm Water Rate Board members confirmed by City Council are:

  • Bernard Brunwasser, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department from 2004 until his retirement in 2011. He previously served as Deputy Water Commissioner and General Manager of the Finance Division for the Philadelphia Water Department, and also served on the American Water Works Association’s Finance Committee. Brunwasser’s term expires July 1, 2019.
  • Mike Chapman, COO of Chapman Auto Group, one of the largest auto groups in the tri-state area with a location on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia. Chapman Auto Group is an active supporter of the community through various charitable giving. Chapman’s appointment fulfills the requirement that one board member be a commercial or industrial rate payer. Chapman previously served on the Philadelphia Water Department’s Stormwater Customer Advisory Committee. Chapman’s term expires July 1, 2017.
  • Nancy Winkler, Treasurer of the City of Philadelphia since 2011. Winkler worked for more than 28 years with The PFM Group, most recently as Managing Director. Her experience includes advising a number of state and municipal entities on municipal bond issuance, debt restructuring, and various strategies to manage debt portfolio. Winkler’s term expires July 1, 2015.
  • Lee Huang, Senior Vice President and Principal at Econsult Solutions. Econsult Solutions provides business and public policy makers with economic consulting services in public infrastructure, development, public policy, public finance, and community and neighborhood development. From 1995 to 2005, Huang was employed at The Enterprise Center. He serves on the boards of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, The Community Design Collaborative, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce and the PHL Diversity Advisory Board. Huang’s term expires July 1, 2016.
  • Sonny Popowsky, Consumer Advocate of Pennsylvania from 1990 through his retirement in 2012. Popowsky’s appointment fulfills the requirement that at least one board member have a background as a consumer advocate in utility rate cases. Popowsky previously served as the President of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates from 1996 to 1998 and was a member of the Keystone Energy Board and the US. Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee. Popowsky’s term expires July 1, 2018.
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