Ditch the Pitch
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) petitioned to intervene in a utility rate increase request filed by Blue Granite Water Company with the Public Service Commission (PSC). The company serves dozens of neighborhoods in Richland, Lexington and York counties. The rate increase application, if approved, could raise customer’s rates up to 56%.
“I attended a town hall meeting back in September about the ongoing concerns of Blue Granite customers,” Department Administrator and Consumer Advocate Carri Grube Lybarker said. “Hearing from the customers and looking at the proposed rate increases, it became apparent we needed to intervene in this matter.” Lybarker has served as the consumer advocate since 2014. The consumer advocate can intervene in utility ratemaking and serves to advocate for the interest of consumers before the PSC.
In the application for proposed increases, customer’s water rates could increase up to 45% and sewer rates up to 56%. Blue Granite says the added revenue would cover, among other things, creation of a storm reserve fund, legal expenses, investments in infrastructure and costs resulting from third-party purchased water and wastewater treatment. SCDCA’s petition can be found here.
The consumer advocate and SCDCA’s advocacy division was originally established in 1978 to represent consumers at large before state and federal regulatory agencies. The advocacy division also has responsibilities with property and casualty insurance (Auto) and worker's compensation insurance. The division also reviews rules and regulations proposed by state and federal agencies providing comments when deemed appropriate.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs aims to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, complaint mediation, enforcement and education. To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free in SC: 1 (800) 922-1594.