Published: March 24, 2011

    Tennessee Rising Water Rates

    Rising Water Rates in Tennessee

    Residents of Tennessee could be looking at the possibility of paying 28 percent more for their water. Based on current average costs, this could mean more than $50 per year and many times that amount for industrial and commercial customers.

    And apparently, the Tennessee American Water Co. is well within their rights to invoke such an increase. State laws authorize them to do just that if the regulators take more than six months to provide their ruling on something like a proposed increase. While Tennessee American Water could potentially have to fork over reimbursements at some point if the Tennessee Regulatory Authority returns their ruling approving less than the requested increase; right now, Tennessee American is technically within their legal rights to impose these escalated utility costs.

    The water company may invoke their right as early as this week because they have been waiting for over half a year for the Tennessee Regulatory Authority to give a ruling on their rate hike request. They cite the need for the rate increase is to generate the revenue for capital projects and to maintain an aging infrastructure.

    TENNESEE – The “trickle down” effect of course will be consumers such as the University of Tennessee that will have to compensate their budget for this unanticipated water bill. In response to the additional 100K+ this will add to the school’s operating expenses, their vice chancellor for finance and operations, Dr. Richard Brown said, “My primary concern is keeping the cost of education affordable. If the state doesn’t appropriate funds for it, you have to pass it along to students who are attending institutions.”

    No one is exempt from the effects of the proposed increase; not even the organizations that can ill afford it like The Chattanooga Community Kitchen that supports the local homeless population. Their annual bill could increase from around $8 thousand dollars to over $36 thousand dollars.

    While the water company is still considering actually making this move, which will prove both unpopular and fiscally challenging, the legalities dictate that this reality could rain down on Tennessee.