Back in May, Tega Cay residents packed a Public Service Commission of South Carolina hearing to speak out against a proposed rate increase request by Tega Cay Water Service, a private utility that serves approximately half of the city.
The complaints the PSC heard were not limited to the fee increase. Residents railed about the quality of the water – sometimes described as “black goo” – coming from their taps, billing problems and poor customer service. Yet, the state regulator recently granted the request. That means in addition to paying more for the questionable water itself, Tega Cay Water Service customers will also pay about $22 more for the annual hydrant fee, which now tops $100, and see their monthly residential and commercial sewer charges increase to $40.12.
We have to wonder what the PSC believes it saw and heard at the hearing, which drew dozens of residents armed with signs that had slogans such as, “They need to take care of this before they ask for more” and “We deserve better than what we have.”
It should be noted that the company operates in another local community under a different name and customers there have had their share of complaints as well. Not that it matters to the PSC.
Approving a rate increase for a company catching so much flak is counterintuitive; doing so in the middle of a recession, when many customers have been cutting back on their expenses to make ends meet, is simply wrong.