COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - During the week of Jan. 27, there will be two public hearings held for Blue Granite Water Company customers concerned about a proposed rate increase. The first of those meetings is Monday at 6 p.m. at Lexington Town Hall.
Back in September, Blue Granite Water Company made a request through the Public Service Commission to raise customer rates by as much as 56%. This will mean some residents could see bills higher than $100/month.
Blue Granite provides service to about 28,000 families in the Palmetto State and representatives with the water company say the reason for the rate increase is mostly because of purchased services – what they pay to third-party suppliers for water and wastewater treatment – and for the nearly $23 million dollars the company says it’s invested in infrastructure over the last two years.
Customers say it doesn’t feel like that long ago that we were discussing the last rate hike, which went into effect in 2018.
“Yeah, we’re willing to work with them, but you can’t raise – you can’t go from $65 to $100, because if they do they’re going to continue to do it. If they do continue it, we’ll be paying $200 by next year,” Michelle Carpenter a Blue Granite Water Company customer said.
Carpenter created the Facebook page, Citizens Against Blue Granite, not long after this latest rate increased was proposed.
With this latest proposed upcharge, Blue Granite Water Company reps explain that the new fees would be broken down into two different categories on customer bills: a sewer collection rate for all customers, and sewer treatment charges when they apply.
A retired veteran, Carpenter says she can’t afford yet another rate increase.
“One hundred dollars is not what I had budgeted for sewage, and there’re some single moms and some single dads, elderly people that have just moved here recently that didn’t know that that was what their sewage was going to be and now they’re stuck – they’re in a house that they’re going to have to pay $100 for sewage.”
A second public hearing is planned for Thursday, Jan 30 at 6 p.m. at the Irmo Municipal Building.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs has petitioned against this rate hike to the Public Service Commission, which is expected to take up this issue in February or March.