Veolia Water is no longer in the business of providing water services to the City of Indianapolis. In an agreement announced on October 28, water services in the city have been put back in public hands and will now be operated by the public utility Citizen’s Energy Group.
However, Veolia Water will walk away with $29-million paid by the city to end the contract which they have held since 2002. Over the past several years a number of problems have plagued the city’s water system including a boil-water alert affecting more than a million people. Consumer complaints more than doubled in the first ten months of Veolia’s contract.
The City of Winnipeg has recently entered into a deal with this same company that would hand over the design, construction and partial operations of its wastewater treatment facility upgrades to Veolia Water, a private multinational corporation based in France. Details of the agreement have not been made public.
A recent poll commissioned by CUPE, showed that 78 per cent of Winnipeg residents believe that all the details of the 30-year deal between the City of Winnipeg and Veolia Canada should be made public. Two-thirds oppose the deal altogether.
Winnipeg residents can look to Indianapolis as an example. The Citizens Energy Group predicts it will save $60-million annually after the initial transition is complete and says these savings will not be realized through job cuts but through other efficiencies. Citizens Energy Group is a public charitable trust that provides natural gas, chilled water and steam service in the Indianapolis area and is fully accountable to state and local governments.
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