MOORE COUNTY, N.C. — Neighbors in Mooresville said they are having more water troubles. Water customers who use Carolina Water Service have found out the company has petitioned for a rate hike for the next three years, after already having one this year.
If you take a stroll down one of the neighborhoods in Mooresville, you'll hear a lot of laughter. Residents said it's not the good kind -- they're laughing off the pain. It's in response to hearing another water rate increase could be in the near future.
On July 1, Carolina Water Service petitioned the North Carolina Utilities Commission and asked to a approve a multiyear increase:
- Year 1: 19.9% rate increase
- Year 2: 4.99% rate increase
- Year 3: 4.64% rate increase
In June of 2022, Carolina Water Service implemented a 42% water rate increase. Neighbors told WCNC Charlotte they felt the impact.
“Our bill was $400 and the neighbor said, 'Mine was $600,' and another said, 'Mine was $800,' and I was like holy cow," resident William Walsh said.
WCNC Charlotte reached out to Carolina Water Service to ask why there will be an over 70% rate increase in just four years. WCNC Charlotte asked for an on-camera interview and was denied, but Carolina Water Service sent a statement:
"At Carolina Water Service of North Carolina, we know our customers rely on us to deliver safe and reliable water to their homes and businesses.
While we recognize that there is never a good time to ask customers to pay more for a product or service, the proposed rate increase is essential to the company’s ability to deliver a safe and reliable water supply.
Since March of 2021, CWSNC has invested, or is in the process of investing, $17.3 million of dollars in a number of water and wastewater projects across the state of North Carolina.
The rates our customers pay support these much-needed repairs and improvements that allow CWSNC to meet our obligations to the communities we serve.
As we look to the future, CWSNC will address our aging infrastructure, maintain water quality and our environmental stewardship by continuing to work with our regulators----the North Carolina Public Staff and the Public Utilities Commission who ultimately approve our rates.
The rigorous oversight exercised by these regulatory agencies assures that the rates customers pay are necessary for essential water and/or wastewater system operations and improvements that ensure that communities receive safe, reliable, and abundant water and safe, environmentally principled wastewater services."
While a spokesperson said the rates support much-needed repairs and improvements, neighbors said the increase seemed extreme.
WCNC Charlotte spoke with the Public Staff - North Carolina Utilities Commission and its attorney about the increase over the phone, asking if the rate increase is normal. The Public Staff said it wasn't.
Chuck Junis, Director of the Public Staff's Water, Sewer, and Telephone Divisions, said there are multiple factors.
“Inflation and change in cost, and then capital investments into infrastructure," Junis said.
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