COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Wearing blue t-shirts with the words "No rate increase", a few dozen Tega Cay Water Services customers came to speak as key witnesses for the South Carolina Office of Regulatory staff against a proposed rate increase. They drove to a hearing at the the Public Service building in Columbia.
"Look at the number of people who came out today," said Linda Stevenson, who has led protests against the water company for years. "considering that this is a work day and people have kids at home... it's great that so many came here today. We will win" she said.
Stevenson has fought the water company for years claiming that the company has asked for and received permission to raise rates and they've only seen improvements since 2011, and those improvements make the service adequate at best.
The two groups came for a hearing in the Public Service Commission. The commission will decide if the Tega Cay Water will be allowed to increase its rate by about 18 percent for water and about 67 percent for sewage service.
"Since our last rate increase, which was based on costs since 2008, the company has invested to improve the service to the customers," said Steve Lubertozzi, the Executive Director of Regulatory Accounting and Affairs of Utilities Inc., which is the parent company of Tega Cay Water Service, "I think come February when they issue the order the company we'll have a rate increase." he said.
The Commission will decide at its next regularly scheduled meeting if it will accept Tega Cay Water Service request for an increase or deny it, or it could grant the water company a lower amount to charge its customers.