Ms. Potter – I read your recent article by Ms. Gaye Bencini. The article accurately describes that Clinton customers are being asked to pay for corporate activities such as salaries and Board meetings. The title implies that this is a negative thing so I thought I would provide some background if you are willing to entertain the full background:
- We have over 300,000 customers nationwide with facilities across the country. One of our systems is in fact just outside Las Vegas and we have held quarterly Board meetings there in the past and may do so in the future. Our Board Members and Leadership Team Members are located in various cities across the country and we consistently look for the cheapest place to meet in person when that is required and the city rotates. We do not hold meetings in locations where we do not have facilities. We would actually be happy to hold a meeting in Clinton; however, customers should be aware that it costs more to travel to Clinton KY than it costs to fly to major cities.
- We do spread all of the corporate overhead on a prorated basis. These positions are necessary to pay bills for things like chemicals, electricity, and maintenance as well as bill customers. The amount of allocation Clinton receives is less than the cost that would be required if Clinton was a stand-alone system. It receives the benefit of these costs and resources being spread across 300,000 customers.
- While Clinton customers may not enjoy paying overhead for a larger company (which I can understand), it is important that they recognize without it they would not have the benefit of capital available to replace things like the 100 year old clear well in Clinton (that we replaced), resources like a generator to keep people with water during storms (like we recently did), or extremely low interest rates to finance expenditures to keep the system running (like we do).
Providing quality service to our customers at a fair and reasonable price is of the utmost importance to our company, as well as the Public Service Commissions that regulate our companies. While we acknowledge the increase is a 50% request, I think it’s important to recognize that this amounts to a $.37 a day increase and is only in response to required investments that have already been made. After the increase, clean and safe water for the average household’s entire daily use (including laundry, showers, cooking, drinking, etc.) will be just over $1 per day, the price of about one bottle of water. Obviously, we are particularly proud we can offer this value without the environmental impacts for what has been widely recognized as essentially the same product.