Liberty’s tricks (March 7, 2017)
Liberty Utilities cannot stick to the facts. Instead, it tries every trick in the book to get us to take our eyes off the ball, their exorbitantly high water rates. First, they stage an election on the amount of bonds the town can sell, pretending it’s about town spending when we all know it’s about the company’s bottom line. Incidentally, they outspent the opposing citizens’ measure by approximately 100 to 1.
Then, they say they are open to compromise, but have failed to provide the town with a reasonable for-sale price. Next, they announce a supposed
rate freeze in the same month they put a rate increase into effect. Now, they bring in a speaker to talk about another water system acquisition in a different county that has little to do with Apple Valley.
Distractions. Distractions. Distractions.
It’s simple. Liberty’s rates for water are far higher than those in neighboring jurisdictions. Its Canadian owner, Algonquin, is committed to ensuring its shareholders get a great return on their investment. Someone has to pay for that. That someone is you — the Liberty Utilities ratepayer.
I don’t blame Liberty for doing what a publicly traded company does — promising greater profits so it can sell more stock. That’s what publicly traded companies do. What we need to ask is whether this should be happening with our water. Keep in mind that Liberty is not like other companies. It is a monopoly, protected under state law. This isn’t capitalism. Liberty should not be allowed to gain excessive profits on the backs of ratepayers in Apple Valley who have no choice about their water.
The Town of Apple Valley has no stockholders to please. It does not need to make greater profits. Its leaders are elected directly by the people in this town. Its rates can be challenged at the local level.
Liberty can make all the noise it wants. Don’t be fooled. The fact is that if the town buys the water system from Liberty for a fair price, the era of uncontrolled rate increases will end. Tell Liberty to sell at a fair price. The jig is up.
Bill McDaniel, Apple Valley
Source: Daily Press