update: water rate protest: finally a victory for the little guy

I’m excited to know that the Public Service Commission unanimously denied the rate increase application by the Utilities Soviets of South Carolina. So if you live on these streets, at least your escalated rates won’t go up for now: Acorn Drive, Altamont Court, Arcadia Drive, Bamboo Drive, Bayshore Lane, Brown Road, Bryson Road, Clearview Drive, Club Drive Drive, Crestwood Drive, Cretewood, Driftwood Drive, Edgewater Drive, June Way, Kings Court, Lakewood Drive, Marty Court, Meeting Street, Mountain View Place, Oakwood Estates, Old Shoals Drive, Olivarri Drive, Penniger Drive, Penniger Drive, Pine Top Circle, Red Oak Drive, Shannon Drive, Town Creek Trail, Twin Lakes Circle, Twin lakes Court, Twin Lakes Drive, Twin Lakes Drive, Wallwood Drive, Walnut Way, Wellwood Drive, Whisper Lane, Wilderness Lane, Wilson Road, Windwood Drive, Woodlake Road, Woodoak Drive, Yates Circle

read the full report here

Below is the original post on the issue:

On Wednesday night, we had a public hearing for a water rate increase for a few hundred of my constituents. My remarks obviously irritated one of the high dollar attorneys for the utilities company. She insisted my statement contained unsubstantiated claims. I guess that’s what they pay these high-class lawyers to do. Here’s the letter I read to the PSC:
November 7, 2007

G. O’Neal Hamilton, Chairman
South Carolina of Public Service Commission
101 Executive Center Dr., Suite 100
Columbia, SC 29210

Re: Docket 2007-286-WS

Dear Public Service Commissioners:

Thank you very much for having a public hearing in Anderson concerning the rate increase proposal by the Utilities Services of South Carolina. I have a number of constituents with documents verifying less than average water pressure, low quality customer service and water quality issues.

There is also a comparison of neighboring water companies charging rates already less than those of the USSC. I am sure the USSC will give you several reasons to justify these rate increases. For whatever these reasons may be, I would think the neighboring water companies have similar circumstances yet the neighboring customers seem to get fairer treatment. Simply put, these customers should not be subject to funding the mismanagement practices of USSC. It is not their problem. I would like to encourage the members of the Public Services Commission to take great efforts to examine the issues raised by my constituents.

I am a retail pharmacist. In my profession, an unsatisfied customer can simply choose to shop at a different drug store in town. Utilities customers do not have an option, therefore we ask you, the Public Service Commission, to intervene and protect these working families. They simply cannot afford an unfair price increase for an essential need such as water.

With warmest personal regards, I remain

Respectfully,

Kevin L. Bryant
South Carolina Senate District 3