Thursday, October 13, 2011

CFPUA Rate Hikes Hit Families Hard

At Wednesday’s CFPUA Board meeting the public speaking signup sheet was full for the first time in a long time. Most listed “rates” as the subject of discussion. As the Authority’s newest round of water and sewer rate hikes have landed in New Hanover County mailboxes, families are finding it harder to foot the bill, especially in tough economic times.

Presenters told board members about bills that had doubled since the Authority took over. Others spoke about being on a fixed income and the inability to afford the onslaught of rate increases.

More than one person stated the CFPUA had now become the highest utility expense for their family, even exceeding their power bill.

The rate increases have hit some customers harder than others. The CFPUA’s newest rate structure specifically targets families with higher tiered rates while giving commercial customers a pass, charging them a uniform rate.

According to reports in the Wilmington Star News, the next round of rate increases will likely begin in 2013, a little more than a year from now.

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority customers will not get relief from higher rates anytime in the near future. As the organization’s spending continues to grow, rates will rise unless the CFPUA finds a significant increase in revenue from improved economic conditions or is able to substantially grow its customer base.