OPINION: “Government Intrusion”


I am opposed to the takeover of Aquarion Water Company.  I view it as an intrusion of government into the private sector, by operation of statute, not voluntary agreement.  The proposal to purchase Aquarion strikes me as an act of government aggression towards an ongoing business concern that has mostly served the town well.

A takeover of Aquarion would upset a deliberate balance created to protect water company customer interests. The regulatory system for utility monopolies was set up to steer the middle course between unchecked capitalism and state socialism. DPU oversight aims to keep pricing at the lowest point possible for consumers, while preserving incentives for the proper operation and maintenance of the business enterprise. The profit motive has been roundly criticized in this debate, yet government is rarely praised as an efficient enterprise operator.  My guess is that Hingham’s retiree pension fund benefits from the steady, low risk profits of large, for profit utility companies. I urge you to vote No on the water company purchase.

Laura Marwill
30 Summit Dr.

4 thoughts on “OPINION: “Government Intrusion””

  1. Hingham folks – this is astonishing to me. Below is a list of the communities and number of customers served by a privately owned water company in Massachusetts. We do not need Aquarion to sell us our own water at a profit! Why in the world would any Hingham citizen prefer paying about the highest water rate in Massachusetts, You LIKE this???
    Andrews Farm Water Company: 52 customers
    Agawam Springs Water Company: 3 customers
    Aquaria Water Company: 1 customer
    Aquarion Water Company: 19,289 customers
    Ashmere Water Supply: 27 customers
    Colonial Water Company: 585 customers
    East Northfield Water Company: 339 customers
    Granville Water Company: 34 customers
    Housatonic Water Works: 858 customers
    Hutchinson Water Company: 123 customers
    Kings Grant Water Company: 149 customers
    Milford Water Company: 8,919 customers
    Monterey Water Company: 72 customers
    Pinehills Water Company: 1,844 customers
    Plymouth Water Company: 821 customers
    Sheffield Water Company: 482 customers
    Westport Harbor Aqueduct Company: 54 customers
    Whitinsville Water Company: 2,253 customers

    Over 96% of MA residents are serviced by a publicly owned water system. If they can do it, we can do it. And at a lower cost.

  2. Laura – you should read the history of the Hingham Water Company. It was NOT founded by the Aquarion monopolist or anybody remotely LIKE them. It was founded by a group of local citizens – including John D. Long (later the *REPUBLICAN* governor of Massachusetts!) and Charles Barnes. Long and Barnes were Town Moderators and the first two presidents of the Hingham Historical Society. These citizens were frustrated because the voters didn’t want to spend a nickel on a public water system, since most of them had well! Long etc. hoped the Town would eventually acquire the franchise, and provided in an 1879 legislative article that it could do so. Ownership didn’t really leave the Town until relatively recently, when a series of companies – the latest being Aquarion – started passing it around as a gold-plated monopoly guaranteed to produce huge profits! Before Aquarion, “we” were owned by a public sector union pension fund in Australia!! So suggesting that the Republican Party (of which I am a lifelong member) should be making common cause with this corporate monopolist – rather than with the Selectmen, the Advisory Committee and the scores of informed citizens who urge us to acquire our own water franchise, is offensive to me. I really don’t think you, as chair of the Hingham Town Committee, should be trying to make this a partisan political issue!

  3. It is strange indeed for any Hingham citizen to favor the interests of a corporate monopoly over the interests of our own Town. As Selectman Karen Johnson has observed: “From day one, Aquarion’s objective has been to prevent the town from exercising its right to acquire the water company. I’ve found it distressing that their tactics have been to contest, confuse, delay, and to interfere with the town’s orderly evaluation of this proposal. Make no mistake, Aquarion’s sole concern in all of this is the best financial interest of Aquarion.”

  4. I simply cannot understand why any informed Hingham voter would want to make common cause with this billionaire-dollar monopoly versus the scores of Town officials urging a vote to acquire our own water franchise – unless they do business with Eversource, or own a lot of stock in it. Then, of course, I’d understand.


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