Blue Granite water customers speak out against possible rate increase

LEXINGTON,SC (WOLO)- Homeowners are pleading to not have another water bill increase, something ratepayers say remind them of VC summer.

A packed room full of Blue Granite customers expressed their frustrations to the Public Service Commission (PSC) in Lexington Monday night.

The water company hasn’t been denied an increase by the PSC in 15 years. This time blue granite representatives say the increase will go towards paying local governments and an improvement plan.

“We’re on a five year planning process that we continue to comb over about every month,” Reese Hannon, with Blue Granite said. “We’re constantly planning and trying to figure out the best way to invest to provide safe and reliable service to our customers.”

Customers say they aren’t buying that.

“I believe the investment should be in the customer, but I haven’t seen infrastructure, I haven’t seen a plan on these quick facts about why we’re having this rate increase,” Johnny Jr., a customer who spoke at Monday nights hearing said.

When asked about what the plan is,  they didn’t go into much detail.

“It’s an internal plan,” Hannon said. “So much can shift based on need, or sometimes you find a need that comes up that you have to take care of.”

This has even some lawmakers questioning the company’s intentions.

“Every two years they come back for another rate increase,” Rep. Chris Wotten said. “They haven’t been denied a rate increase since 2004, yet in two more years they’ll be legal to come back and do it again. I think it’s ridiculous to raise your rates 50% on folks that don’t have an income.”

Wooten says he hopes the PSC listens to customers so that history doesn’t repeat itself.

“In life we expect people to do the right thing,” Wooten said. “That’s what I’m encouraging the PSC to do. Look back to what’s historically happened. Nothing has been taken care of, rates continue to go up and you’re killing our ratepayers.”

The next public hearing is happening in Irmo on Thursday.  The final hearing where the PSC will vote on whether or not to increase customers bills will be at the end February.

Categories: Lexington, Local News, News, State