Tag Archives: leakage

Utility Districts Face More Scrutiny Under New Law (and maybe they needed it)

A tough new law imposing stricter state oversight of Tennessee’s 182 utility districts – which serve hundreds of thousands of customers and collect millions of dollars in rates – quietly went into effect Friday, reports the News Sentinel.
More reform is on the way, according to state Comptroller of the Treasury Justin P. Wilson, who ushered the legislation through the General Assembly.
Wilson said he was crafting the new law before recent investigative audits uncovered flagrant misuse and thefts of ratepayer money in several East Tennessee utility districts.
“The need for transparency and accountability in this area we had before these investigations were completed and before we knew what they would turn up,” Wilson said.
But those scandals grabbed lawmakers’ attention, he said, and provided impetus for last-minute tweaks of the bill.
“When you’re dealing with the General Assembly, it’s better to deal with concrete examples that you can see,” he said. “The bill was modified in response to these accusations.”
The story is part of a News Sentinel package of articles on utility districts and their problems.
There’s also a story on water leakage from utility systems – up to 40 percent loss in once case; a report on an investigation into alleged misdeeds at an Oak Ridge utility district and an editorial lauding Comptroller Wilson’s efforts to audit districts and strengthen the laws governing them.