The announcement is a significant victory for activists who have been fighting the privatization of Trenton’s water works and will clear the way for a citizen vote on the issue.
“While privatization is a tempting quick fix, it is not the cure to repairing ailing infrastructure systems or dwindling municipal coffers. The evidence from the 86 percent of U.S. water systems under public control clearly shows higher efficiency with lower costs for ratepayers. In contrast, corporations costs are higher and any efficiency premiums are often passed on to their shareholders. Indeed, the 14 percent of U.S. water utilities that are privately owned charge ratepayers anywhere from 13 percent to 50 percent more than their public counterparts.
“American Water had indicated that it would eventually raise water rates to recover the costs of the sale and match those of the rest of their water rate customers, an increase of up to 40 percent for township water users. Customers would needlessly pay higher rates to cover the acquisition and its related costs, all so American Water can collect its millions in profits.
“For months, American Water has been trying to curtail public participation in the acquisition of Trenton‚ water utility. This new development is a win for citizen activists who have worked tirelessly to uphold the public’s interest in this battle to have this essential resource kept under public control. We hope it will serve as a model for other communities working to protect their water resources from corporate exploitation.”
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500