Water Company Surcharge Is Approved

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Tennessee Regulatory Authority has approved Tennessee-American Water Company's request for a surcharge that the company says collectively covers approximately $7.5 million in local water infrastructure improvements that the company has made or will make in 2014. 

The October 4, 2013, filing was the first of its kind by Tennessee American Water and was the result of implementation of new state legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly. The new law "encourages the TRA to consider alternative rate mechanisms to ensure continued reliability and quality of service, as well as to promote local economic development."

Deron Allen, president of Tennessee American Water, said, "Similar alternative rate mechanisms are being used in other states to encourage ongoing infrastructure replacement (pipes, pumps, hydrants, etc.) at necessary levels while holding down the overall costs for the filing and administration of general rate cases with state commissions. The goal of the new riders and an expense tracker is to allow Tennessee American Water to continue making necessary investments in the local water system’s infrastructure with minimal impact to customers’ rates.

“Our goal is to keep the local water system strong and viable today and for generations to come. Ignoring the infrastructure needs of our water system, over time, would be a dis-service to our customers and community.”

The average total impact for a residential customer in Chattanooga would be approximately 23 cents per month for all three riders. However, for 2014 bills, customers will actually see a decrease of 2 cents as a result of decreased fee tracker expenses in 2013. 

Mr. Allen said, "Communities across the country are facing challenges of operating aging water infrastructure and the need to increase rates to fund critical improvements.  According to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card, communities throughout Tennessee collectively will need to spend approximately $3.5 billion during the next 20 years to renew and replace their water infrastructure needs."

The initial filing was made in October 2013, and it was reviewed by the TRA, the Tennessee Attorney General Consumer Advocate Protection Division, and others before a decision on the proposed surcharge was made.

A look at the components of the infrastructure funding mechanism:

 ·         The Qualified Infrastructure Improvement Program Rider is an incremental surcharge to a customer’s bill to cover the replacement of water mains, fire hydrants, water meters, production plant structures and equipment, etc. 

·         The Economic Development Investment Rider is an incremental surcharge to a customer’s bill to cover the capital investment and operational expenses related specifically to economic development.  Examples include water main construction to new development areas or projects that may add jobs to the area.

·         The Safety and Environmental Compliance Rider is an incremental surcharge to a customer’s bill to cover the capital investment and operational expenses related specifically to safety and environmental compliance. 

·         The Purchased Power, Chemical, Purchased Water, Waste Disposal and TRA Inspection Fee tracker allows these expenses to be trued up for increases or decreases within a given year.


Anturaum Dickey, 36, Arrested For Federal Warrants In Cleveland

Anturaum Montazz Dickey, 36, of Cleveland was taken into custody on federal warrants at a Blount Avenue residence by members of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office’s Fugitive Team, backed up by deputies from BCSO, on a tip provided by members of the United States Marshal’s Service.   An additional charge has been filed on Dickey for possessing a Serbian AK-47 style rifle, ... (click for more)

Local Religious Group Condemns Hammond Comments, Asks Apology

A local religious group, Mercy Junction and Peace Center, has condemned comments by Sheriff Jim Hammond on Muslims and asked for an apology. The group said, " People of all faiths, or of no faith, are invited to join Mercy Junction in front of the Islamic Society of Chattanooga for prayers on Friday afternoon. "Prayers In Solidarity" will take place outside the Islamic ... (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Barners Trounce Who?

There is a website known as Grammarly that just completed a profound study. An automated proof-reading company (who I hope never finds out about me) collected 100 comments that each included over 50 words from the comment blogs of the nation’s preseason Top 25 college football teams. Then they fed them into the company’s huge algorithm computer and checked each fan base for punctuation, ... (click for more)

East Ridge Football: Home Side Stands Are Closed ... Four Home Games Will Be Played on Campus

The home side football stands and press box at East Ridge High School are closed permanently due to safety issues, but for the 66 teenagers who wear the orange, white and gray for the Pioneers on Friday nights it’s a small distraction and the season continues. “Playing this Friday’s game against Signal Mountain at Baylor (7:30 p.m.) is a small distraction for us, but we know ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Sweeps Red Bank In Volleyball

Signal Mountain coach Jennifer Redman was not a very happy young lady last week when Notre Dame came up and took a 3-1 volleyball win in the Lady Eagles' gym. She knows she has an experienced team with more than her share of talent, but they just hadn't been playing like it to start the season. The veteran coach was somewhat happier Wednesday night after her team took a non-district ... (click for more)