Raleigh, N.C. — State Attorney General Roy Cooper on Wednesday filed a notice of appeal to a provision by the state Utilities Commission allowing North Carolina's largest private water utility to raise rates without public hearings.
“Consumers deserve quality water at a fair price, and they deserve a chance to weigh in when a utility wants a rate hike,” Cooper said in a statement. “The Utilities Commission should have all information before making a decision to raise rates.”
The appeal contends that the commission did not make appropriate findings or conclusions in granting Aqua the power to raise rates automatically.
Under state law, rate hikes by regulated utilities usually require approval from the commission, a process that includes public hearings.
Aqua provides water and wastewater service to more than 250,000 people in 52 counties.
In a statement, Aqua said a “water and wastewater infrastructure improvement charge” is needed to improve infrastructure and water quality issues resulting from natural minerals in groundwater sources across the state.
“It works to the benefit of customers and utilities and generates very few complaints,” the utility said.
Cooper said he plans to file a full appeal with the state Supreme Court within the next few months.