NAWC: Private water utilities take issue with Observer report


NAWC: Private water utilities take issue with Observer report

On January 1, National Association of Water Companies Executive Director Michael Deane countered a Charlotte Observer report that missed key points regarding private water utilities in North Carolina.

The Cost of Water: Where You Live Makes a Difference” (Nov. 16, left out important facts on the regulation of private water utilities.

First, the N.C. Utilities Commission (NCUC) sets water rates for private water utilities through a process called a rate case.

A rate case requires a private utility to prove its costs are justified and its rates are fair. Rate increases cover costs such as water main repair and replacement, water hydrant maintenance, and water treatment facility updates. The rate case process requires the release of supporting documentation and open public hearings to allow customers, elected officials, and other stakeholders to participate.

Second, direct comparisons of water rates across a given state or region – a tactic commonly used by critics of private water utilities – don’t tell the full story. There are dozens of factors that influence water rates, including investment needs, water source, service area density and elevation, and water treatment needs. As a result, it’s challenging to fairly and accurately compare the rates of different service territories.

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