Many residents served by the private utility Tega Cay Water Service reacted less than favorably to an announcement by the company that it applied for a rate increase. Who can blame them? TCWS has long been the target of dissatisfied customers who complain about the quality of the water they pay for and what some have described as subpar customer service.
And it’s no middling increase the utility seeks. TCWS is asking the S.C. Public Service Commission for permission to increase residential water rates by 18.54 percent and residential wastewater by 66.9 percent, for a combined 43.98 percent jump. The utility says it needs to raise rates to recoup the cost of a $2 million investment to improve or replace pumps, control panels, motors and other equipment as well as remodeling four sewer lift stations.
According to the company, the average Tega Cay home will see a difference of “less than a penny per gallon” at the faucet. The average water bill will be just under $42 a month, the average wastewater bill about $65 per month.
That may not seem like a lot of money to some people, but for others, especially residents struggling to make ends meet during tough economic times, it puts another unwelcome dent in the budget. Factor in the roller coaster of gasoline prices and an expected rise in food prices related to drought in grain-producing states and it adds up to more hardship at the worst possible time.
It wouldn’t be as odious if TCWS was better regarded by its customers, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. It’s like an office worker getting turned down for a promotion and then asking for a salary bump just the same.
The only good news here is that the increase isn’t a given. Although the Public Service Commission has approved rate increases in the past despite customers’ objections, the public’s comments are taken into consideration before a decision is made.
To its credit, Tega Cay Water Service did recommended a community forum in its application, though no specifics have been announced.
For more information on how to provide comments, visit dms.psc.sc.gov and search Tega Cay Water Service under the “Docket Search” tab. The Reference Docket Number is 2012-177-WS.
School’s open, drive carefully
With local schools now back in session, we want to join in with public safety officials and remind motorists to be extra careful. Be more alert at crosswalks not only in school zones, but everywhere in your community.
One thing officials stress is obeying the rules regarding a stopped school bus. In most instances, motorists are required to stop while buses are loading and unloading and to proceed only after the bus driver has turned off its hazard blinkers and retracted the “stop” sign. Know the rules – there are some instances in which drivers do not have to stop and you don’t want to confuse the driver behind you and causing unnecessary traffic problems.
Above all, take note of your speed and try to drive a little slower than the limit during the school year. There’s no destination important enough that it’s worth causing serious injury or death that could easily have been avoided.