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.

Fire Destroys Home On Sea Haven Drive

Firefighters from Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene of  6329 Sea Haven Drive to find a fire through the roof and a partial collapse of the home. No one was home at the time of the fire. The family was driving home from the Washington, D.C. after visiting family over the holidays. A dog did expire in the fire. Neighbors had been taken care of the ... (click for more)

Walker County Arrest Report For Nov. 23-29

Here is the Walker County arrest report for Nov. 23-29: RICHARDSON         CHARLES      ALLEN           WM     20        Officer MILLER         PROBATION VIOLATION (F) ... (click for more)

Misconceptions About Ban The Box

Mr. Exum,  I want to invite you as a guest speaker at the NAACP General Membership meeting.  I believe we can accomplish our goals and clear up any misconceptions about Ban The Box and the role of the NAACP in a much more meaningful manner face to face.   In that vein I would like to invite you to have coffee with me at Panera Bread.  I will not make a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Great Thanksgiving

In order for you to best understand this, last Thursday was the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent alone.  Don’t misunderstand, I had a fistful of kind invitations but I am the only remaining member of my immediate family around here and I guess I started dwelling on that a little too much as the holiday neared. Making out my “thankful” list helped, and I ate enough with ... (click for more)

Foster and Auriemma - Hall of Fame Coaches – Meet at McKenzie Arena Tonight

  A young basketball coach with lots of drive and knowledge but little money was in desperate need of a dependable car to get from home to work and back. A good friend gave his reliable $100 car to the coach and went out and replaced it with another $100 car. That same friend – also an up-and-coming coach – had also helped his brother a few years earlier by taking a ... (click for more)

No.1 UConn Women and Breanna Stewart Face Mocs Tonight

“By late Monday night, UConn’s Breanna Stewart will be on a very short list of the greatest female players to ever play at McKenzie Arena.”   -- UTC women’s basketball coach Jim Foster   America’s most talented female player - Breanna Stewart - on the best women’s college basketball team in the land -   UConn – is in town for a one night showing, ... (click for more)