Cooper says Tennessee American Water likely to decrease rate hike

Bryan Cohen Oct. 2, 2012, 2:16pm


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) - Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper announced on Tuesday that his office's intervention has likely led to a smaller rate hike from the Tennessee American Water Company than the company originally proposed.

The proposed agreement states that classes of TAWC's customers will pay 12.72 percent more for water instead of a proposed increase of up to 35 percent if all of the company's proposed adjustments and rate increases were approved. The proposed agreement is subject to approval by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority at its Oct. 15 meeting.

The settlement was agreed to and signed by the town of Signal Mountain, Walden's Ridge Utility District, the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association and representatives of the city of Chattanooga.

The settlement resulted from intervention by Cooper's Consumer Advocate and Protection Division, which represents the interests of consumers in matters involving sewer, energy, telecommunications and water rate-making and regulation issues that are presented for review to the TRA.

"We feel this is an appropriate settlement for consumers while giving TAWC an acceptable rate of return," Cooper said.

TAWC has requested six rate hikes in the past nine years. This proposed hike was the highest one to date.

Multiple consumers complained about the rate hike during a public hearing on Sept. 20 in Chattanooga. Cooper's office filed testimony of multiple experts supporting the need for no more than a $2.8 million rate increase for residents of the Chattanooga area. The settlement authorizes a rate increase of $5.2 million of the $10.6 million the company originally sought. Additionally, the company agreed to drop several rate adjustment proposals that could have increased rates by an added 10 percent.

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