To take or not to take, that is the question

On Wednesday, Albuquerque City Council Member Michael Cadigan (and Water Authority board member) and Bob Gay of New Mexico Utilities faced off in the west side edition of the Albuquerque Journal over whether it makes more sense for a government agency or a private company, to manage the provision of water services to a large portion of the west side of Albuquerque.
Having read both sides of the argument, it is plain to see that this is yet another case of a government agency forcibly attempting to crowd private providers out of the market. I’ll take Cadigan’s points one by one:
1) The Water Authority has agreed not to raise New Mexico Utilities’ (NMU) customers rates to pay for the acquisition. This is meaningless government doublespeak. The Authority could raise its existing customers’ rates; it could wait and then raise NMU customers’ rates to pay off debt; or, since it has access to government revenue sources, it could simply get the money from taxpayers by other means.
2) NMU has outgrown its water rights and will have to buy more. Again, this is meaningless. If there is a problem, it is a problem for NMU and provides no justification for the Water Authority to forcibly take over NMU.
3) NMU sells water for a profit and doesn’t have the incentive to conserve. Heaven forbid, someone tries to make a profit by giving customers what they want. When Cadigan and the Water Authority go to Santa Fe and demand that urban areas — not to mention 65% of New Mexico’s population — receives more than 10% of the state’s water, then he can complain about NMU’s business practices. Forcing 10% of New Mexicans to adopt draconian conservation measures is ridiculous when 90% of the water is used elsewhere.
4) NMU customers can’t take advantage of the Water Authority’s rebate program. Again, Cadigan and the Water Authority have control issues and simply want to be able to tell NMU how to run their business. I’d be interested to know if the Water Authority has ever sat down with NMU to figure out a way for the Water Authority to pay for these conservation subsidies?
5) The Water Authority has “improved” its service over the years. Once a government agency has control of the region’s entire water supply, what incentive do they have to keep improving…perhaps they decided to improve in the first place because they looked bad when compared with NMU?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.