Fort Mill Times

This part of York County can use its water again. But it soon could cost a lot more.

Blue Granite Water Company lifted water restrictions Monday, days after it filed a new request for rate increases.

Blue Granite issued information to its mostly-Lake Wylie customers that the water conservation requirements it put in place on May 18 are no longer in effect.

“We appreciate your cooperation with the conservation protocol, and your patience while the interconnection project is completed,” reads the message. “Blue Granite remains committed to providing you with safe and reliable service. We believe that this interconnection is an important step in meeting our commitment to you.”

Blue Granite now has a connection with Charlotte Water. Though connected to Charlotte Water, crews still will be out finishing up construction the next few weeks.

On May 18, Blue Granite issued an indefinite mandatory ban of all “non-essential outdoor water use.” A water shortage had been caused by lower than usual supply coupled with heightened demand, according to the company. Company officials said it was widespread water consumption in Lake Wylie that caused the most difficulty.

The company later stated they would re-evaluate the situation in October once a backup connection -- required by the company’s franchise agreement with York County -- with Charlotte was in place.

The ban took place as the company had an application pending with the South Carolina Public Service Commission for water and sewer rate increases. Blue Granite dropped the increase request, but on Aug. 30 informed the public service commission it intended to file a new one.

Blue Granite filed its application Oct. 2.

Depending on the area and type of services used, residential customers could see monthly base charges and per gallon water usage increase 35-54%. Sewer rates would increase 56%.

Commercial rates vary by business size.

Blue Granite states it invested $23 million in its water and sewer system since the most recent rates began, after a 2018 filing. Blue Granite also asks for an annual rate adjustment pass-through for bought water and sewer treatment.

The application also shows Blue Granite would give each customer a one-time credit of $10.64 to return over-collection of federal income tax expenses in the first six months of 2018. That money came from the lowering of federal corporate income tax from 35% to 21%.

A monthly surcharge of 53 cents per customer would create a $200,000 storm reserve fund, and a voluntary round up program would let customers round bills up to the nearest dollar and send the difference to the South Carolina Office of Economic Opportunity.

There isn’t a time line set for when a final order might be issued on the rate request, or any public meetings that may come.

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