Attorneys on Wednesday questioned a water company accountant on the cost of providing service to Walden’s Ridge, hinting that the community was not paying all the costs of pumping water up the mountain.
Tennessee-American Water Co. provides water to the Walden’s Ridge Utility District through contract, and thus the district was left out of the utility’s rate increase request, said Sheila Miller, a senior financial analyst with a Tennessee-American affiliate.
Tennessee-American cannot alter the terms of its contract with Walden’s Ridge, said Ms. Miller, who works for American Water Works Service Co. Instead, state regulators would have to change the contract, she said.
The public is invited to comment on the water rate case today or Friday. Go to the County Commission Room on the fourth floor of the Hamilton County Courthouse and sign a form. State regulators will allow you to address your views during the session.
Rick Hitchcock, an attorney for the city of Chattanooga, and Henry Walker, an attorney for the Chattanooga Manufacturers Association, questioned Ms. Miller Wednesday on Walden’s Ridge and on other Tennessee-American accounting statements.
A Tennessee-American official said Walden’s Ridge pays its fair share for service.
“Walden’s Ridge does pay for itself,” Kim Dalton, a spokeswoman for Tennessee-American, said outside the rate case hearing room. “Walden’s Ridge Utility is our customer. That’s the only one we serve (on Walden’s Ridge). The people get their water from the utility district, and the utility district sets its price for its customers.”
Walden’s Ridge Utility officials could not be reached late Wednesday for comment.
The Tennessee Regulatory Authority is holding hearings all week at the Hamilton County Courthouse over Tennessee-American’s requested 20.58 percent rate increase. Next week, the hearing will resume in Nashville.