Make your voice heard on proposed water rate increase
I am not a direct customer of Utilities Inc, known locally as Tega Cay Water Service (TCWS), but I am affected by the rate increase. York County, which is where the City of Tega Cay is, was one of the hardest hit County’s in the State of South Carolina during the economic down turn/recession. The County and the City are still feeling the effects of the current economy. We have residents of the City who have gone from a two paycheck family household to a one paycheck household and in some cases less than one paycheck. We have a large percentage of residents on fixed or limited incomes. An increase of this magnitude will have ripple effects to the community as a whole for a long time.
The unemployment rate in York County is between 9.3 percent to 11.1 percent. as of March 2012 (according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Mortgage Performance Summary). This figure does not take into account the UNDER employed in the County.
I understand that TCWS is an IOU (Investor Owned Utilities) and because of that, it is a fully cost priced system. I have heard that the Federal Government allows IOU’s to seek other forms of funding to make repairs to the system without recouping the entire cost from the users. I understand that some States allow this to happen as well but the State of South Carolina doesn’t.
My question is, why not try and change the way the State of South Carolina treats IOU’s instead of gouging the users of the system? Has TCWS met with the legislators in Columbia and tried to change the attitude about IOU’s or have they just gone after the end user with increase after increase? I guess the easiest way of recouping your investment is to do the minimum maintenance required by SCDHEC and the Public Service Commission and still continue to increase rates on the consumer. The TCWS has been on a downward spiral for some time now and the minimum required maintenance seems to have been the way TCWS has treated this system.
I have been told that even with this proposed rate increase that TCWS rate will remain lower than many across the country. I don’t have the energy or the fortitude to argue that point but I can argue the point that (if granted) this rate increase will make TCWS the HIGHEST sewer rate in the State of South Carolina.
This is the fourth rate increase by TCWS in 12 years. In the rate case two years ago, TCWS was granted a rate increase of 18 percent for “investment and ongoing expenses.” The letter TCWS customers received this time stated that TCWS is seeking a rate increase to recover more than $ 2,000,000 that has already been invested in the system over the last three years. TCWS had an increase two years ago to invest in the system and they are now seeking an increase to recover the investments? At the rate increase of two years ago the Public Service Commission noted that very few improvements were done to the system.
Is this new increase a form of double dipping?
I would like to encourage all resident’s of Tega Cay to go on the Public Service Commission’s website and oppose the proposed rate increase - http://dms.psc.sc.gov/dockets/ enter the docket number 2012-177-WS click on the “find” button; then click on the “docket #”. If you are having difficulty please contact a group of concerned resident’s at email@example.com. I also encourage all residents to attend the public hearing with Utilities, Inc on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the upstairs of Philip T. Glennon Center to voice your concerns to the representatives of Utilities, Inc.
City of Tega Cay