Governor Christie has sold out New Jersey’s water supply. The Governor signed (S2412/A3628), which would authorize municipal, county, and regional utilities to sell or lease their water to a private company. These leases or sales could be done without any public notice, comments, or approval. This law was opposed by the League of Municipalities, the NJBIA, CWA, and The Association of New Jersey Authorities.
“Governor Christie has sided with private water companies over our water supply. This law will raise rates, hurt consumers and businesses. Residents will not be able to decide the fate of their water supply unless the petition to sell or lease is signed by 15% of voters in the area. This is undemocratic, takes away public oversight and input, and allows deregulation of our water protection and rates. Governor Christie has now allowed for private water companies to reap massive amount of profit at the expense of residents and their water supply,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of The New Jersey Sierra Club.
This law deregulates our water supply. This law limits the BPU and public from oversight into rates. These private water companies will basically acquire public water utilities for free. After buying the companies at a cheap rate, the private companies charge ratepayers for the cost and charge them a profit on top of the 10%. These companies are not even required to fix the infrastructure of the water systems that they take over. When Bayonne privatized their water the tax payers still had to pay to fix the water system, not the private utility. It also takes away local accountability.
Many towns and public utilities want to privatize water for short term financial gain, which will mean long term problems for their residents. If residents have a problem with their water instead of calling local utility customers would have to take up the issue with boards in Germany in France. Residents spoke out in Trenton, Sussex Borough and Newark stopping the privatization of their water.
“Governor Christie has silenced residents. Privatization is one of the single biggest threats to clean water and public health. Privatization often leads to higher rates for services and worsen water quality. Studies have shown that when public services are privatized, corporate profits replace meeting the needs of consumers and the environment. Rate payers and tax payers have spent billions of dollars to build these water systems. Now companies are going to take over our public water supply for profits rather than work for the public they are supposed to serve. We will end up seeing higher costs for the services, problems at facilities, and tax payers paying the bill,” said Tittel.