Tennessee American Water has provided water service to the Signal Mountain community for 93 years. The facts tell the story.
Question: What are the benefits of Tennessee American Water ownership?
- The Facts: Investor-owned utilities like Tennessee American Water go through a review process with the Tennessee Public Utilities Commission (TPUC) for any change rates.
- Private ownership includes regulatory oversight for service, price and overall performance.
Question: What is the water source that will be used?
- The Facts: We will use the same water source and treatment plant used today – the Tennessee River. Tennessee American Water has provided water to Signal Mountain for nearly 100 years. We would own the pipes and equipment, like the pump station, and be responsible for all maintenance and improvements.
Question: Has your company acquired systems locally and what was the impact on rates?
- The Facts: We acquired the Whitwell system in 2013. We adopted their rates. Minimal increases through our capital riders program have allowed us to make around $750,000 investment in the Whitwell water system since 2013.
- For Signal Mountain customers, the impact on the average residential monthly bill average through our capital riders would be $0.71.
Question: What impacts the decision to increase rates?
- The Facts: As a public utility, our rates are set by the TPUC through a public process. The TPUC also approves the allowed return on equity. The authorized ROE is an opportunity and not guaranteed.
- Periodic rate adjustments allow the company to continue to invest in the water and sewer pipes, pumps, collection and treatment facilities, manholes, fire hydrants and equipment required to help ensure quality, reliable service.
Question: What is the water quality track record for Tennessee American Water?
- The Facts: Tennessee American Water performs 21 times better than the industry average when it comes to providing quality drinking water. In our 130 years, we have never received a notice of violation from our regulators.
- We take our responsibility to our customers seriously. We participate in the voluntary Partnership for Safe Water program to not only meet EPA guidelines but also provide water service better than required.
- American Water’s national laboratory in Belleville is one of the most advanced water quality and testing laboratories in the United States.
Question: Why do you want to service the Signal Mountain water system?
- The Facts: Water service is our business and our passion. This would be an extension of our nearly 100-year relationship. Residents would become our direct customers. We are interested in growth because it is good for our customers, our community and our company. With our team and resources in place, we can provide solutions to community water and wastewater challenges.
Question: How would customers pay their bill?
- The Facts: If the Town wants a payment option at Town Hall, we could set it up.
- We also offer the convenience of online bill pay, payment by phone, automatic bank draft payment, mail-in payment and in-person payment locations at local businesses like Wal-Mart and EPB.
Question: Do investor-owned utilities like Tennessee American Water cut corners to drive down costs?
- The Facts: The customer is at the center of all we do. We operate efficiently and effectively while providing excellent customer service.
- Through the American Water family, we have national buying power that gives us tremendous cost-savings when making system improvements.
Question: Is American Water owned by an American company?
- The Facts: Yes. We are a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE symbol “AWK”).
- We were bought by the German company RWE in 2003, but returned to the NYSE when the initial public offering for common stock began in 2008.
Question: How do you give back to customers and the community?
- The Facts: Giving back is as essential as water. We contribute to environmental initiatives, education efforts and community programs. Our employees volunteer their time, resources and expertise to neighborhood organizations, charitable activities, local boards and more.
- We enjoy being a part of the communities we serve. We work closely with city staff, fire departments and community leaders to ensure a vital community.
- We are also members of growth organizations like the Tennessee Aquarium and local Chambers of Commerce, working to build a bright future in the communities we serve.
- We support our local heroes through our Firefighter grant program. Funds provide personal protective gear, communications equipment, firefighting tools, water handling equipment, training materials and more.
Question: How will we maintain a local connection?
- The Facts: We are located in Chattanooga. Our parent company is in New Jersey.
- We rely on local employees for knowledge of the water system.
- If the Town Council wants, we will establish a Water Advisory Board to provide input and feedback to our management team on a quarterly basis.