Officials with Aqua North Carolina are seeking another rate increase -- the third in five years.. The private water provider wants a 19 percent jump in the cost of their water service to customers.
Advocacy groups are already urging customers to call and email the North Carolina Utilities Commission. That board will decide if the rate request is accepted.
Tom Roberts is chief operating officer for Aqua North Carolina's parent company Aqua America. He expects people to be against their request, but he says the company must get back the investment it put into infrastructure.
"We believe what we ask for is fair," Roberts says. "There certainly is some room for interpretation in there and that's what the next period of time -- let's say somewhere between 225 and 250 days -- which is what we expect the case to take. Ultimately the Utility Commission will decide."
Katie Hicks is with Clean Water for North Carolina -- an Asheville-based group promoting affordable drinking water. She says the potential hike would be too much for rural residents.
"We've seen that Aqua and other private companies' rates are already much higher that other folks are paying in the state," Hicks says. "And this on top of that..it's just from what we've heard making a big crunch on people during this hard economic time.
Aqua customers could pay as much as 10 dollars more per month on their monthly bill. Hicks says many residents are ready to speak out at public hearings when as the request is considered.