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Chattanooga’s EPB is 2012 Lump of Coal Winner

December 14, 2012

Happy holidays, Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB)! Over the last several weeks online voters spoke and today it was announced you are the recipient of the 2012 Beacon Center “Lump of Coal” award. The Center nominates several individuals or groups each year who “bah-humbugged the principles of liberty and limited government.”

The poll was narrow, but decisive: Chattanooga EPB won by 16 votes.

According to Beacon Center CEO Justin Owen, “Taxpayers and ratepayers are bearing the risk of EPB’s attempts to monopolize the Internet business in the Chattanooga area … The public utility has squandered millions competing with the private sector in its quest to rule the Internet market throughout southeast Tennessee.”

Coalition for the New Economy readers are very familiar with EPB, which will spend $550 million in an attempt to bring one gigabit Internet service to city residents and businesses. EPB CEO Harold DePriest originally said the one gig service would cost subscribers $350 per month. That price tag is reportedly now $50,000 – a high price to pay consider the tax- and ratepayer subsidies Chattanoogans have already spent on the system – and one that few large or small businesses (forget households) can afford.

The Beacon Center award is a dubious, but well-deserved.