An interesting thing happened at the end of the on-line version of The Daily Advertiser’s story today on LUS Fiber taking a $5.5 million loan from Lafayette Utilities System: LUS Director Terry Huval took to the comment section and defended the loan against the usual carping by anonymous readers.
The gist of the article is that LUS Fiber is experiencing a robust rate of new customers — Huval tells the paper the number of new hook-ups has “virtually doubled” over the last three months — and that early setbacks such as lawsuits against the project as well as problems with LUS’ first video system, which LUS ultimately replaced, hampered revenue projections.
But Huval, as he’s done in the comment section on this website, using his name, defends LUS Fiber’s performance and denies the loan will affect utility rates in Lafayette:
The public referendum for this project stated clearly that the bonds were backed by LUS. This one issue was the subject of much public debate prior to the election. The voters supported the initiative by a 62% to 38% margin.
The loans will be paid as LUS Fiber continues to grow. Our rate of serving new customers is about double of what it was just several months ago. Our revenue and customer growth has remained positive each quarter.
And, no, utility rates will not go up because of the loans. In fact, since we pay the loans back at a higher interest than LUS would normally earn, the fiber system will actually reduce the likelihood of future rate increases.
Huval also defends LUS Fiber on ideological grounds and insists the cable TV/Internet/telephone service is meeting expectations:
There will always be those who choose not to buy our services and we respect that. Debates on whether or not government should provide these types of services have always been around. The debate on whether or not LUS should continue providing utility services went on for over 50 years after it was founded in 1896. Fortunately for Lafayette, the people wanted to keep their utility system. This decision has saved Lafayette citizens and business hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few decades alone.
For some time now, LUS Fiber has been bringing in more revenues than its costs to provide services. It is growing at a strong pace and previously published reports suggest that the number of customers we have exceed 10,000. We have been in this immense business for just over 2.5 years and have accomplished alot for our community in that short time.
Read the story here.