Fort Mill Times

Time to testify. Lake Wylie — and York County — customers can mark their calendars.

Customers who want to comment in person about a request by Carolina Water Service to raise its rates can testify at a public hearing March 6 at Camp Thunderbird in Lake Wylie.
Customers who want to comment in person about a request by Carolina Water Service to raise its rates can testify at a public hearing March 6 at Camp Thunderbird in Lake Wylie. Fort Mill Times file photo

A public hearing is set for March 6 in Lake Wylie, where residents can testify in the Carolina Water Service rate increase case.

On Thursday, the state public service commission announced public hearings in Lake Wylie, Greenville and Columbia. The Lake Wylie hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Camp Thunderbird.

Anyone wanting to testify will have three minutes. Testimony will be given under oath and recorded into the rate case. The public service commission, which ultimately will decide if Carolina Water gets all or part of its increases, will be present.

The utility is looking for increases statewide ranging from about 15 to 30 percent, both for water and sewer customers.

On Wednesday, the commission voted to allow York County to participate as an” intervenor” in the case. Meaning the county has access to all case filings, including proposed settlements. The county missed the deadline to file as an intervenor, but filed afterward when the county recognized the potential impact of a request in Carolina Water’s application that could allow future rate changes without full public rate case proceedings.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Dist. 5) sent letters to York County, public service commission, state and federal leaders with concerns about Carolina Water and its increase request. Norman asked that the increases not be approved. He also asked for information on past fines and water quality testing, specifically adherence to federal lead and copper requirements.

Robert Yanity with Carolina Water said all of the utility’s systems statewide are in compliance with lead and copper rules.

“Carolina Water Service is committed to providing safe and reliable service to our customers,” Yanity said. “This commitment requires that we make the necessary investments in our facilities to comply with regulatory mandates and meet our customers’ expectations.”

The utility asked for its rate increase, as it has in the past, based on works already done within the system.

“All costs included in the company’s current rate increase request are for improvements that are already in service and benefiting our customers,” Yanity said. “In fact, Carolina Water Service has invested more than $11 million in improvements to its system in the last two-and-a-half years — money that has been spent to upgrade tanks, lift stations and interconnections.”

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