Residents from Wake County and outlying areas made an impassioned plea Monday evening to the N.C. Utilities Commission not to allow Aqua North Carolina to raise their water and sewer rates for the second time in three years.
About two dozen people listened more than two hours to public comments challenging the rate request by Aqua, the state's largest private water utility. Aqua charges more than $100 a month for a typical residential customer in North Carolina, about twice the monthly bill charged by Raleigh, Charlotte and other municipal water departments.
The Cary-based company, with 88,00 water and sewer customers in the state, is seeking to raise bills by 20.4 percent for water service and 16.4 percent for sewer service, which would come to about $17 a month extra for a typical residential customer.
"It has gotten to the point where we don't water our lawn, we don't wash our car," Juli Williams, an Aqua customer who lives in Mallard Crossing in Raleigh, told the utilities commission. "I personally go bananas if my 10-year-old wants to fill a water gun in the summer. That's a personal story of how we have to live because of these water bills."