Saturday, November 05, 2005

Local Private Ownership of our Utilities?

Today’s JS headline titled “Illinois-American up for sale” appears to be great news for local entrepreneurs. Opportunity is now here to buy the water company from its German owners, for local investors to invest, make profits and reduce water rates to the public.

A few years ago a headline in the JS said “Mayors back local control of Cilco”. Pekin Mayor David Tebben said 25 communities “spoke with one voice”. Chuck Grayeb from the City Council said “This vote tonight is a tremendous victory”. City Councilman Eric Turner said “We’re at a crossroads. All our support is needed to assure local ownership”.

The community missed out on that opportunity; Ameren bought Cilco and renamed it Ameren/Cilco. Ameren/Cilco recently said they would possibly face bankruptcy if the ICC wouldn’t allow them to raise rates. Five days ago, the questionable ICC Board did approve the rate hike and Ameren/Cilco did RAISE rates to area users substantially. You will see the increase reflected in your December utility bill. Remember this is the same Ameren/Cilco that pledged $500,000.00 of YOUR MONEY in THEIR name to the proposed new $5 million plus Children’s Playhouse in the soon to be vacated Glen Oak Park Pavilion.

We know that excessive profits are being made by Illinois-American; that’s probably why they want to sell it. Also the PAAG, five City Council members, Terry Kohlbus, EDC chief, the Executive Board of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce, ex.-Mayor Lowell “Bud” Grieves and a number of other community leaders all said so. They should now take the lead in buying this company from the Germans. The company would then remain under the regulation of the ICC (our legislators should take steps to ask the Governor to appoint members to this commission who would both represent the private and public sector fairly), the ICC would have lost jurisdiction over the City owned water company. Under local ownership the entire region will then benefit by lower rates and we will have water lines that seldom will leak.

Let the raising of capital and negotiations begin. Count on my non financial support.


Anonymous said...

AmerenCilco is a monopoly. I wrote the Attorney Gereral of Illinois about them and AmerenCilco rote a letter in response saying how the rate increase will help us. Well, let us see what is in the paper. AmerenCilco profits are up 76 percent and people are applying for government aid to heat their homes. I think this speaks more than the AmerenCilco canned reply and the rebate check they gave people were a joke. Write the Attorney General of Illinois and the Better Business Bureau about Amerencilco illegally creating a monopoly. If nothing else you will fell better.

Merle Widmer said...

Promoters of the buyout claim City would make $13 million a year if the City owned the water company. Why don't wealthy investors promoting this buyout like Filege, Oberhelman and Kress, buy the company and take at least $10 million a year in profits?

While these folks have offered the City $400,000 for a due diligence study, the City would need to invest at least $600,000 more to complete the study. But the City is going to lose MORE than $7,000,000 on the bad Pere investment. Our infrastructure is 3rd world and will need money for repairs that it dosen't have. If the City can't handle basicc serrvices, how can this Council run a water company???