Property owners already angered with company's call to raise sewer rates

Property owners already angered with company's call to raise sewer rates

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Home and business owners in one part of the Columbia area could very well be seeing higher prices on their sewer bills in the months ahead. That is if a rate increase gets approved for their sewer service provider.

Palmetto Utilities recently mailed a notice to its customers that it wants to significantly increase rates for sewer service.

The South Carolina Public Service Commission would have to approve that course of action.

Recently Palmetto Utilities merged with Palmetto of Richland County LLC. Company officials say about $80 million was invested in system upgrades to handle more customers. They also say the rate increase is needed to recoup the high costs.

"We want to be proactive. We want to get out in front and give our customers notice that this is coming," Andrena Powell-Baker said of the notice. Powell-Baker is a senior manager for community relations and development with Palmetto Utilities.

For now, many customers say they are not happy with the idea.

"Every company has to make a profit. I understand that, but I feel like the profit they want to make is on the backs of everyone that they're serving,"
said Lori Brock, who lives in Northeast Columbia.

At this point, the state public service commission has not set any hearing dates to discuss the proposed rate increase. Palmetto Utilities is planning to hold several meetings next week to discuss the matter.

The first scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, at North Springs Park Community Center.

The informational session will begin at 3:30 p.m. A second one will follow at 6 p.m. at the community center.

On Wednesday, September 6, 2017, another informational meeting will be held at Lake Carolina Elementary School beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Another meeting will follow on Thursday September 7, 2017 at North Springs Park Community Center beginning at 6 p.m.

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