Mr. David Drooz, Chief Counsel Public Staff - North Carolina Utilities Commission
United States of America

Carolina Water System CWS and Utilities Inc. are once again proposing rate hikes to water and wastewater customers throughout the southwestern area of North Carolina. Different areas are being faced with different rate hikes of double digit amounts. Those of us in the Sapphire Valley are being presented with a Base Water Charge increase from $19.89 to $26.95 and a Base Wastewater Charge from $35.52 to $60.22 (an increase of 58%). These charges are 'base' fees and will be charged even if the customers don't use a drop of water or release a drop of wastewater. There is a large percentage of customers that are 'seasonal' in our affected area and double digit rate increases for water and wastewater systems that are not used full time are driven by bad management and corporate laziness.
CWS/Utilities Inc. have been poor stewards of the system they have built. In the Hilltop area of Sapphire Valley, there are NO 'As-Built' schematics of either water or wastewater systems. The CWS/Utilities Inc. statement by their regional supervisor that '10% of our system is inspected and maintained annually' is a complete falsehood. Our water system is subject to frequent and major leaks that will run for MONTHS before repairs are made, resulting in additional damages to our properties due to water erosion. Wastewater lines past the flush-out connections have been boroscoped by private plumbers and have revealed blockages that are near complete because CWS/Utilities Inc. simply will not jet or root-out their wastewater lines. The avoidance of routine and preventative maintenance has resulted in sewage backups into private residences resulting in major damage and loss of use. CWS/Utilities Inc. will routinely disavow any knowledge or more importantly, any responsibility for the operations, maintenance, or repair of their systems. They will cite lack of documentation in the way of 'As Built' drawings to justify delayed reaction to leaks, CWS employees blaming Utilities Inc. for lack of funding, etc. etc. etc. To provide abysmally poor service, lack of repair response, and pleading ignorance in the face of major water leaks and wastewater backups smacks of poor leadership, non-existent management, and a 'good ol' boy' network that is clearly out of control. To petition the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a rate hike of this magnitude is nothing more than an act of continued poor management and fiscal irresponsibility. A rate hike will not compel CWS / Utilities Inc. to search for better ways to operate, maintain, and repair their systems, it will simply reward poor operational and management habits. I would recommend the North Carolina Utilities Commission NOT approve the recommended rate hikes and simply compel CWS / Utilities Inc. to better manage the resources they are responsible for. There is simply NO need to reward unprofessional and irresponsible behavior.

We, the undersigned, call on the North Carolina Utilities Commission to NOT approve the rate increase request of CWS/Utilities. Inc.

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The Oppose Utilities Inc. / Carolina Water Service (CWS) Proposed Rate Hikes petition to Mr. David Drooz, Chief Counsel Public Staff - North Carolina Utilities Commission was written by Geoffrey Warnock and is in the category Government at GoPetition.