Tega Cay residents to pay $20 more for water services

Tega Cay residents to pay $20 more for water services


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC


Posted on February 8, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 9:38 AM

TEGA CAY, S.C. -- Neighbors fighting a sewer and water rate increase in Tega Cay lost their battle with Tega Cay Water Service.

Residents will pay about $20 more per month on average. The rate increase goes into effect next week.

Joyce Clark lives in Tega Cay and the last thing she wants is yet another increase.

Neighbors say they've had at least four rate increases over the years.  To them, it appears that money is doing little to fix big problems like foul smelling water, sewage spills, crumbling infrastructure and poor service.

"They are rude,” said neighbor Linda Stevenson.

Neighbors took their fight to Columbia and a hearing before the Public Service Commission of South Carolina hoping the answer would be no.

But a recently issued commission directive says the answer is yes.  The full explanation will be issued next week.

Some neighbors didn't know the outcome until NBC Charlotte showed them the paperwork.

“Not at all, I actually thought we'd won and then we had 103 gallons of sewage go into the lake, I thought that ought to cap it, ought to really see how bad they are,” Clark said.

The Public Service Commission says it is troubled by Tega Cay Water Service's issues and is sympathetic to neighbors, but the South Carolina Supreme Court recently overturned one of their rate denials and that impacted the decision.

"They're afraid to vote no, they know we won, we presented enough testimony to deny this company getting anything,” Stevenson said. "I don't see how anybody would give them what they asked," said Stevenson.

Tega Cay Water Service says it got a smaller rate increase than it asked for, $361,000 compared to $447,000.

They invested $2 million dollars in infrastructure improvements and as a regulated, investor-owned utility, are entitled to a rate of return on their investments.

Company officials say the extra money is meant to cut down on customer complaints by fixing issues.

Regulators say they need to be vigilant monitoring Tega Cay Water Service for continued improvements.

"We're not going to stop until we get proper service from this company, until this company is out here replacing the old obsolete clay pipes.  We're going to continue to fight them,” Stevenson said.