Attorney General’s office confirms Birmingham Water Works inquiry; new reaction from state lawmakers

AG’s Office demanding hundreds of pages of BWWB records ahead of potential rate increase.
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 5:19 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office on Friday, Oct. 14, confirmed the WBRC Exclusive report that it’s demanding the Birmingham Water Works Board turn over hundreds of pages of records ahead of a potential vote to raise rates.

Attorney General’s Office Spokesman Mike Lewis tells WBRC, “The Attorney General’s Office Consumer Interest Division requested the Birmingham Water Works Board provide baseline budget documents to better assess the need for the utility board’s recently announced rate increase.”

The attorney general’s consumer interest division is asking for documents related to the utility’s operations, finances, board members pay, budget planning, and how the staff and consultants arrived at a potential 8 percent rate increase.

This signals increased scrutiny of the largest water system in the state as the board meets over the next two weeks to finalize its budget plan for next year and whether to increase rates.

“I feel it is very timely for the AG’s office to get involved,” said State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills), who chairs the Senate’s Rules Committee and has been pressing for more BWWB transparency. “The Birmingham Water Works Board will be required to answer any and all questions related to their operations. So I think the timing is significant, the timing is perfect,” Waggoner said.

“All of us should hope that the AG finds this has been a deliberate, well-researched, and well-thought out process that justifies a rate increase, but I’m not so sure about that,” said State Sen. Dan Roberts (R-Mt. Brook). “I’m curious that at a time like this, they would ask for a rate increase of 8 percent, 6 percent, or even 4 percent, and I’m skeptical.”

“We will cooperate with the Attorney General’s office request,” said BWWB Communications Director Rick Jackson.

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