Ready-to-Serve Charge for Sprinklers
The important decision through which the water department of Evansville, Ind., wins a signal victory in the matter of the charge for automatic sprinkler services sets an important precedent which will no doubt be the model for similar decisions in other states. This decision, which is printed in full on page 507 of this week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, is made by the Indiana Public Service Commission in a suit brought by parties in the city of Evansville to restrain the water department of that city from collecting yearly rental for the sprinkler connections on the ground that such a charge is unjust, because there is no equivalent in water consumed. In its decision the commission points out that this claim is erroneous, in that the charge is not for water consumed but for the expense incident to the necessity to be prepared to quickly supply an ample amount of water at good pressure in case of need. In other words, the charge is equivalent to a ready-to-serve charge, the principle of which has been upheld time and time again in the courts.
One advantage of this decision should he, if upheld, the clearing up of a disputed point that has causer! much friction and dissatisfaction between the water works and the particular class of consumers to which the decision applies. As these are substantial business men of the city with whom the water works should be on good terms for the advantage of both, the decision should work to the best interests of all. In the meantime it is to be hoped that no long litigation will ensue, but that the question of the justice of the sprinkler charge by the water works will be settled once and for all time.