Residents speak out against Blue Granite rate hikes at PSC hearing

Residents speak out against Blue Granite rate hikes at PSC hearing

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Public Service Commission (PSC) heard from dozens of upset residents in Lexington County Monday evening as a proposed water and sewer increase was put into question.

Blue Granite Water Company filed for the rate increase last September, proposing a 35-55% increase in water rates, and a 56% increase in sewer rates.

Dozens of speakers took the mic to speak out against the hikes, arguing that they already pay enough.

"Blue Granite has gotten more approval for rate increases than Tom Brady has Super Bowl rings," one resident said.

Blue Granite's president Don Denton was at the meeting, taking notes as residents voiced complaints about the company.

Representatives from Blue Granite say the proposed rate hike will mainly go towards financing third party expenses and improving infrastructure.

“Specifically, the two main drivers of this rate increase are number one, being an increase in purchased service costs. So that’s any cost that we incur from a 3rd party supplier. An increase in those since the previous rate,” said Blue Granite representative Reese Hannon. “As well as an investment in infrastructure. Since the last rate case, we’ve invested $23 million roughly across the state.”

Local leaders like Senator Dick Hartpootlian, Senator Katrina Shealy, and Representative Chris Wooten were all spotted at the meeting.

"The people that have paid these rates for over 40 years with good faith that the infrastructure's going to be taken care of and it hasn't," Wooten said. "And now they want to raise the rates to fix the infrastructure that's been denied for the past 40 years, and we're supposed to have faith in the company."

Now, folks are putting that faith in the PSC, and their decision.

"This is VC Summer 2.0," one resident said. "We are being taken advantage of, and it ain't gonna happen, because we'll use our voices at the statehouse if we have to."

The next meeting will be at the Irmo Municipal Building on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Blue Granite services more than 17,000 water customers, and more than 13,000 sewer customers in 16 counties across the state.

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