Lake Monticello residents angry about proposed water rate hike
FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Thousands of Fluvanna County residents might see an increase to their water bill as early as February.
Water provider Aqua Virginia has asked the State Corporation Commission, SCC, to let them raise water rates by 33 percent and wastewater rates by 21 percent.
Aqua said that totals to about $34 more a month.
Aqua serves most of Lake Monticello, and residents say they were unhappy with their service before this proposed rate increase.
"I think it's really awful to be honest," Fluvanna County Supervisor Tony O’Brien, who represents the Lake, said.
An annual report from Draper Aden shows the proposed water rate hike is 30 percent more than the average increase statewide, and Lake Monticello residents already pay more than the state average.
"Ultimately, that has a huge impact on their pocketbook, but it also has a huge impact on the area as well," O’Brien said.
The rate hike would increase Aqua's revenues by almost $7 million. Aqua said it's for infrastructure improvements like pipes and meters.
"This is a publicly traded company that ultimately, you know, has lots of other venues in which to pursue and I think that they have a business model right now that seems predatory. And that that business model is hurting our community," O’Brien said.
O'Brien said residents already have problems with Aqua, as multiple sewage leaks have shut down parts of the Lake in the past year.
"You're tone deaf, you're absolutely tone deaf. You're asking for a rate increase. We've had a terrible year in terms of the service that you delivered, and you have zero credibility among the community," he said.
He’s asking Lake residents to join his cause.
"They need to contact their local senator, their local congressman, they contact their state senator and their state delegate. They need to reach out talk with Virginia and they need to reach out to the state corporation commission," he said.
The hearing with the SCC to discuss rate hikes is set for April 2024, but Aqua could set an interim rate in February. If the SCC denies or lowers their request in April, there would be a refund process.
This also won't be just a Lake Monticello issue, Aqua has similar plans for parts of Nelson County.