Privatizing the Saint Louis City Water Division
Yesterday, we released the lastest Show-Me Institute case study, about the potential for privatization of the St. Louis city water division. We officially unveiled it on The McGraw Show, on KTRS The Big 550 AM. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Monsieur Milhaven for that invitation. I had a lot of fun on the program, and I appreciate all the people who phoned in with questions.
I have two goals with this case study. First, to get the city to consider the gains it could realize by privatizing the water division, which is the only one of the three traditional utilities served by a public agency in St. Louis city or county. All three — water, gas and electric — are provided by private companies in St. Louis County, while gas and electric are privately provided in the city. (Kirkwood and Eureka are exceptions in the county.)
The other goal, equally important in my mind, is to convince the city of St. Louis to install water meters. It is nothing short of insane that the city still charges via flat-rate billing for residences. The only good thing about not having moved to meters yet — decades after most other large cities did so — is that the city now has the opportunity to skip using regular meters and move directly to electronic meters that don’t involve meter readers. Maybe that was the secret plan all along. …
The work in this study could just as easily be applied to Kansas City, and especially Springfield.