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Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.

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SCC lowers rates for Aqua Virginia customers

*** This affects about 1,800 Caroline residents in the Elsinore, Campbell’s Creek and Lake Land’Or communities.***
SCC LOWERS AQUA VIRGINIA RATE REQUEST BY $1.1 MILLION; AUTHORIZES $2.1 MILLION INCREASE

RICHMOND — The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has set new water and sewer rates for utilities operated by Aqua Virginia. This decision results in a decrease for average use customers of each utility below the interim rates customers currently are paying, and provides for one-time refunds.

Aqua Virginia requested authority to increase rates for most of its 17 water systems and four sewer systems subject to the SCC’s jurisdiction and provide an additional annual operating revenue of $3.3 million. The company implemented this increase on an interim basis on December 13, 2009. Because the SCC has determined that an increase of approximately $2.1 million is reasonable, customers are due a refund, with interest, on the amounts over-collected while interim rates were in effect and will pay water and sewer rates based on this lower figure in the future.

The SCC received approximately 3,400 public comments on Aqua Virginia’s application. Most customer comments opposed the size of the company’s proposed rate increase. Other customers noted that they had experienced problems with water quality or Aqua Virginia’s customer service.

In its order, the Commission agreed that Aqua Virginia requires some additional annual revenues to improve customers’ quality of service and ensure that the company is providing reliable and safe drinking water and wastewater services. However, the SCC found that the revenue request proposed in the company’s application was excessive.

Aqua Virginia was directed to file within 60 days a detailed report of actions taken with regard to customer complaints with the SCC’s Division of Energy Regulation. The company also was directed to file with the division within 30 days its customer complaint procedure. The staff must report to the Commission on the adequacy of the company’s complaint procedure within 60 days of the SCC order.

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Case Number PUE-2009-00059

View Order

Portsia’s note:

Aqua Virginia, a water and sewerage corporation, filed a rate increase request with the Virginia State Corporation Commission for $3.2 million in June.

A rate increase would have increased the water and sewer bills for about 1,800 Caroline residents in the Elsinore, Campbell’s Creek and Lake Land’Or communities.

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