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Nov. 19, 5:00 PM, Public Hearing on MVP Southgate’s 401 Water Quality Certification, Rockingham Comm. College Advanced Technologies Auditorium 560 County Home Road, Reidsville

Nov. 20, 10-2PM, NC Environmental Justice and Equity Board meeting, agenda TBA, Walnut Creek Wetland Center, Raleigh

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Rate hikes loom for private water customers

Customers get organized to tell the NC Utilities Commission “No way!”

Aqua North Carolina, the NC’s largest investor-owned water and sewer utility, requested a 19.5% rate increase from the NC Utilities Commission this year. Aqua NC serves 90,000+ customers and is a subsidiary of Aqua America, a profitable corporation with an aggressive growth strategy. In the past decade, the company has been quietly buying up small rural and suburban water and wastewater systems (see our page on Water Justice for more info). In November and December, customers will speak out about the proposed rates and their water/sewer service at public hearings held in Newton, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Winston-Salem and Charlotte. (Article: “Pitchfork Time,” Durham Independent Weekly).

NC Aqua map

Water systems owned and operated by Aqua North Carolina (CWFNC, 2013, based on data from NC Public Water Supply Section, Environmental Protection Agency, and NY Times / Environmental Working Group)

Both Aqua NC and the second-largest investor-owned utility, Utilities Inc., have applied this year to begin raising customer rates automatically by up to 5% per year with no public hearings (Article: Aqua NC wants to raise water rates without public hearings, Raleigh News & Observer). If the NC Utilities Commission approves Aqua’s use of this mechanism, the company’s investments in its infrastructure will become even less transparent, adding to customer frustration when rates skyrocket and service concerns remain. (Video: Aqua NC request raises questions, WNCN).

If you are an Aqua customer, the 2013 hearings are your chance to tell the Commission loud and clear to deny the request and leave opportunities for public input in place! Click here for the list of hearings, and stay tuned for updates!

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