Utilities Commission rejects rate hike request from Aqua NC

— A battle over brown water and money is heating up in Raleigh after Aqua North Carolina requested to increase rates despite delivering discolored water to thousands of customers.

Aqua North Carolina recently asked for a 9 percent rate hike. The public staff of the Utilities Commission not only rejected that increase, but recommended Aqua N.C. lower its revenue.

Aqua N.C. customers to talk about the brown water that stains their clothes, sinks and bathtubs. Despite the dirty look, the water usually passes federal standards because iron and manganese are treated as secondary water quality violations.

Aqua N.C. submitted a rate hike request that would increase rates to raise an additional $4.7 million, but the Utilities Commission Public Staff wants Aqua N.C. low lower revenue by $1.7 million.

Frustrated customers said all rate hikes should be rejected until Aqua N.C. provides clear water.

Aqua N.C. responded, defending the increase to cover its investments in new filtration.

Aqua N.C., the Utilities Commission and the attorney general will take all testimony and documentation to begin negotiating the rate hike next month in public hearings.