Thursday, May 3, 2012

ALEC Privatization - Not Good for U.S.!

Boy – these ALEC companies just want to keep the ALEC press coming.  I am so proud of them.  They open up all kinds of lines of communication of, by and for ALEC.  Unfortunately for ALEC the press isn't good.

An influential trade association representing companies that provide water services to one in four Americans says it will continue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that has worked with the energy industry to create loophole-filled water protections and opposes federal oversight of fracking.

The National Association of Water Companies represents the far-reaching privatized water utility industry that serves “nearly 73 million people every day,” according to the association’s website. NAWC represents more than 150 private water companies, each of whom pay an annual fee to the association. Its board of directors is drawn from the leadership of some of the country’s largest water companies.

NAWC works with ALEC to persuade state and local officials to adopt policies favorable to the private water industry.

In relation to this

Water privatization efforts have been growing rapidly both in the United States and abroad without strong public scrutiny and supervision of these deals. Although there has been much effort to promote private-sector involvement by relaxing financial constraints and government oversight, governments have failed to establish clear guidelines for public access and supervision, monitor the public interest, and ensure public participation and transparency with regard to water privatization contracts or agreements.(1)

Who protects the public better – private companies or the government?
Public companies report to the stockholders.
Government reports to the people.

And that’s exactly what the article goes on to point out
The profit motive may provide private water companies with incentives to avoid conservation and efficiency measures since profits depend upon volumes of water sold. Also, the privatization of water utilities has posed risks of rate hikes, inadequate customer service, and reduced local control. Rates have increased as a way for private water companies to maximize profits in many U.S. communities where water has been privatized. Since the company is under little pressure to respond to consumer concerns, this may result in poor customer service. Private water suppliers by nature are beholden to their stockholders rather than to the public, and may not have economic incentives to make long-term investments in infrastructure and water quality monitoring

Further, once water rights have been signed over, very little can be done to ensure that the private company will work in the best interest of the community. After being exposed to these risks, major cities in Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Louisiana have canceled water management contracts with private companies or taken steps to buy back the assets of privately-owned water utilities.

The ALEC experimental propaganda of free enterprise in the public sector fails again!

And you have these examples horror stories of privatized water:

A small, private water company in Southwest Missouri is in the news because one of its pumps failed a few weeks ago. The Joplin Globe has the story (link via Combest). A key pump failed, the company was unable to fix the problem immediately, and for a few days the town — and the fire department — didn’t have a water supply.

In Texas

Across the state, a growing number of suburban Texans are getting their water from large, private corporations owned by investors seeking to profit off the sale of an essential resource. State figures show private companies are seeking more price increases every year, and many are substantial.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which regulates water and sewer rates for nonmunicipal customers, doesn't keep numbers, but "their rate increases tend to be 40 and 60 percent," said Doug Holcomb, who oversees the agency's water utilities division.

And we are familiar with the private sector’s habit of “one hand washing the other”

Shocking Conflict of Interest: Private Water Companies Partner With Fracking Lobby
Selling water to drillers, two of the nation's biggest private water utilities may soon profit from treating the wastewater.
April 19, 2012  | 
Two of the country's largest private water utility companies are participants in a massive lobbying effort to expand controversial shale gas drilling -- a heavy industrial activity that promises to enrich the water companies but may also put drinking water resources at risk.

“In passing House Bill 1389, the legislature acknowledged the serious problems that customers of Aqua Florida Utilities, the largest investor owned utility in the state, have been dealing with.  The study commissioned by this bill will help address thousands of pages of complaints from Aqua customers who for years have opposed the company’s exorbitant rates and poor service.

Stand up against the privatization experiment of public services.

The ALEC privatization experiment of public services is not good for America.
What’s good for ALEC and ALEC profit sector members is not good for America.
ALEC is not good for America.


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