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Amherst community fighting against higher water rates

Posted May 31, 2009

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— The 130 families who live in the Amherst community could see water and sewer bills jump 44 percent. The water for the Wake County subdivision, between Holly Springs and Garner, is handled by Nero Utilities in Illinois.

Nero Utilities aims to raise rates Nero Utilities aims to raise rates

Kathy Olson is among the homeowners unhappy with the water quality provided by Nero Utilities and that the company has filed a request with the state to raise rates.

“I have to monitor and maintain my toilets on an extremely regular basis because we get these black strains that run down the toilet,” Olson said.

Olson said she drinks bottled water because she has concerns that the water is not clean. Now to make matters worse, Olson said Nero Utilities wants to raise overall water rates.

Officials with Nero Utilities say the average residential bill will increase $20 for water and $8 for sewer per month. They say it will be less than a $1 a day.

“It sounds like nothing, but when you add it up, that is $365 a year,” Olson said.

Nero officials say the increase is "due to higher operating expenses," and to help pay for a special mineral removal filter installed in 2006.

“The water service has been rather substandard,” resident Ina Lunney said.

Lunney collected signatures of neighbors who say they have similar water issues and are protesting the rate hike.

“Everyone is pretty fired up about it,” Lunney said.

“When you call them, all they will say is, 'We're meeting federal requirements,'” Olson said.

When WRAL News talked with Nero Utilities, the vice president said he couldn't comment about water quality issues.

“It's just not right,” Olson said.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission will decide this summer whether the increase will go through. If so, it will be the company's first utility rate increase in five years.

A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m. at the Commission Hearing Room 2115, Dobbs Building, 430 Salisbury St., Raleigh.


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  • SKYz the limit Jun 1, 2009

    We have had the water tested numerous times. It passes state regulations. That doesn't mean it is good water! I can't drink it because it tastes to bad. Sometimes it reeks of chlorine. It has stripped the color from my clothes, and from my hair. We have black slime, pink slime, you name it. I have gone through a dishwasher, a washing machine, and I am sure the water heater is next. I don't believe they ever installed a filter in 2006 and I want proof! If you really want to see Nero hit the roof, ask them about Well #3.

  • speedy Jun 1, 2009

    We have another provider, but similar issues. The problem here is the utility provides water that meets the MINIMUM state standards in most cases. The standards need to be raised to include some degree of aesthetic standards (smell/staining/etc). Of course, the cry will come that this will increase their costs. These "private" utilities should be monitored much more closely OR taken over by the city/county/state.

  • Wolfheel Tarpack Jun 1, 2009

    Clayton has the same provider and same black gunk! Clean several times per week. Gunk even on the faucet holes, around shower seals, filtered refrigerator water dispenser gets a pink film. GROSS!!! State should perform a blind, random test. Of course if a test is "scheduled" with them, they'll clean it up. We have times of water reeking of chlorine, too, then they change to an ammonia-based as we get notices ... crazy.

  • gopher Jun 1, 2009

    The residents should have the county health department test the water, or an independant test facility.

  • HopingForABetterWorld Jun 1, 2009

    YEAH...my old neighborhood. This company has been giving these residents problems FOREVER. There has always been a problem with the water, and Nero's tests always show "acceptable" levels, despite all the other tests and evidence of problems. I hope it gets resolved.