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News :: Environment : Labor : Social Welfare
Holyoke struggles to keep wastewater as a public utility
31 May 2005
Kelda may sell Aquarion, US profits fall 21% in 2004.
Holyoke deal falls on even shakier ground.

The UK Independent reports “Kelda mulls the sell-off of its not so profitable US subsidiary” as Aquarion reports a 21% fall in profits in 2004. Residents and DPW workers in Holyoke, Massachusetts, facing a 20-year, $176 million contract with Aquarion Services Company, should be worried. The main selling points of the contract have been the purported savings to ratepayers and the sweetheart deal promised to the current workers, which maintains existing pay and benefits. Workers will already lose civil service protection in the Aquarion deal, and what more will they lose if Aquarion is sold? Can Aquarion really save the city millions if under the gun to show a profit to Kelda shareholders?
Entering into a 20-year contract with a company that is about to be sold seems questionable at best. Anyone ever worked at a company that is about to close or sold? “Rats on a sinking ship” mean anything? Seven of the fifteen Holyoke city councilors are opposed to the contract, along with hundreds of residents and a citizen’s action group, Holyoke Citizens for Open Governement. City councilors have been raising major questions about the real and hidden costs of the Aquarion deal, doubts about the promised millions in savings to the city, and the lack of a viable plan for optimized public operation of the existing system, which has been a public utility, along with gas, electricity and water, since before the turn of the last century. With no public option to compare with the Aquarion proposal, and with only a single bid on the deal, voters in Holyoke are already uneasy. If Kelda is considering selling Aquarion, Holyoke may need to reconsider an already questionable wastewater contract.

Holyoke, Ma, one of the poorest communities in Massachusetts, is having it's public wastewater system handed over to a for-profit company, Aquarion, owned by the Kelda Group, UK.

The latest turn of events is a report in the British press that has Kelda considering selling off Aquarion as an unprofitable hindrance. The future of Aquarion appears uncertain, and Holyoke's future Aquarion workers and ratepayers should be worried.


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Re: Holyoke struggles to keep wastewater as a public utility
31 May 2005
and if the company suddenly decides to shut down, how long before your neck deep in shit?