Local News

Warren County residents oppose proposed water rate increase

Posted June 26, 2012 11:09 p.m. EDT
Updated June 27, 2012 11:41 a.m. EDT

— Residents of Warren and Northampton counties who get their water from a private provider spoke out Tuesday evening against a proposal that would nearly triple their water bills.

Water Company Aqua North Carolina is looking to buy the current water company that provides water service to this area. The North Carolina Utilities Commission held a public hearing in Warrenton to hear objections to the increases planned by Aqua North Carolina that would increase monthly charges from an average $7 per month to more than $17 per month.

Monthly usage charges per thousand gallons would go from $1.50 per month to $5.03 per month.

Water rates in the counties haven't gone up since 1989.

Residents said they are concerned because many customers are retired and are living on a fixed income.

But Aqua North Carolina President Thomas Roberts said the area's rates are among the lowest in the state and that the service that customers currently receive reflects that.

Water employees say there has been very little maintenance to the existing infrastructure. Roberts said the increase would help pay for new infrastructure and better service.

"It's a 270 percent (increase) on a rate increase that hasn't happened since 1989," Roberts said. "It's the same rate the people of Wake County or the people of Mecklenburg County are paying."

The utilities commission is expected to make a decision in August.