published Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Scalped, again, by Tennessee American Water Co.

Not too long ago, Mayor Ron Littlefield said he wanted to revive the drive -- initiated but deferred by former mayor Jon Kinsey -- to take over Tennessee American Water Co.'s operation by eminent domain. Unfortunately, he never got the idea off the ground. TAWC, however, plowed ahead with its biggest proposed rate increase ever -- 23 percent -- and ended up a few days ago with approval for a 12.72 rate increase.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the increase -- more than quadruple the general rate of inflation -- is a thumb in the eye to ratepayers here. It precisely conveys the company's arrogant attitude: Kneel, and pay up. Of course, you have to mail the company a check; it doesn't offer a walk-in office open to its customers like it used to downtown, and hasn't for several years.

It's out-of-state American Water Co. corporate headquarters drains its profits out of here to pay dividends and lavish executive pay. That doesn't happen in Tennessee's other large cities, and most of its smaller towns. Most own their public utilities --not just electricity, but water and, often, natural gas. Their local utilities issue low-rate, tax-rate free municipal bonds to finance infrastructure improvements, offer lower rates and timely infrastructure improvements, and keep their sales revenue churning in the local economy.

Chattanoogans have yet to learn or embrace the value of that nonprofit model for our TAWC zone and natural gas. Hence we regularly get socked in the jaw with huge rate increases, and we keep sending the TAWC's corporate profits skimmed off our citizens and businesses out of the city. If the city's and county's leaders had the courage, and public support, to change that model, we would save money, protect ratepayers, and enjoy local control of water and gas utilities.

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holdout said...

The city should start it's own water company if it can do so well. Why steal what someone else built?

October 22, 2012 at 7:14 a.m.
BigRidgeGOP said...

You tout the benefits of city ownership, yet the city cannot even operate the waste water system without dumping raw sewage in our streets and in the Tennessee River every time we have a heavy rainstorm.

As for rates, my water bill is around $25-30 every month and a lot cheaper than my sewer bill, which comes from the city.

Where is your outcry about the city raising my sewer rates 2X every year for the same amount or more than what was just given to TN American Water? Despite these increases, the city has not managing the sewer system properly or made the necessary infrastructure improvement to prevent a correction action by the EPA despite.

Again... where is your outcry?

As for lavish pay.... you need to look no further than City Hall to find people being paid lavish salaries!!!

October 22, 2012 at 8:35 a.m.
aae1049 said...

The above comments are so awesome. All I have to say is, "ditto."

October 22, 2012 at 1:16 p.m.
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