Growth of large private water companies brings higher water rates, little recourse for consumers
Across the state, a growing number of suburban Texans are getting their water from large, private corporations owned by investors seeking to profit off the sale of an essential resource. State figures show private companies are seeking more price increases every year, and many are substantial. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which regulates water and sewer rates for nonmunicipal customers, doesn't keep numbers, but "their rate increases tend to be 40 and 60 percent," said Doug Holcomb, who oversees the agency's water utilities division. For years, small private companies have played a crucial role in Texas, providing water and sewer service in new developments outside of cities. Analysts say private companies will continue to fill an essential need in the future, when public money is projected to be insufficient to make the billions of dollars in costly upgrades needed in water and sewer systems. Increasingly, however, the companies are neither small nor local.
This story is from Texas, but I think this is where things may be headed across much of the Sun Belt. There is nothing private corporations love more than a monopoly over something you absolutely have to buy. All that propaganda about capitalism being about competition is claptrap.