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Corolla Light/Monteray Shore/Currituck Club Water & Sewer Rate Increase

On Saturday, October 8, 2011 Dan Scanlon, County Manager Currituck County, presented a PowerPoint presentation to Corolla Light Community Association's Annual Owners Weekend Business Meeting on Currituck Outer Banks Sewer and Water systems. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why did I receive three bills in September 2011?
  2. Customers received two bills from Carolina Water Service: one was the final water bill for the period June 18, 2011 - July 18, 2011; and the second was the wastewater bill for July 18, 2011 - August 18, 2011. The third bill received is from the Southern Outer Banks Water System (SOBWS), the new water provider for Corolla Light and Monteray Shores, for the billing period of July 18, 2011 - August 18, 2011.

  3. I thought Currituck County was going to purchase both the water and wastewater systems in Corolla?
  4. Carolina Water Service owned the water systems in Corolla Light, Monteray Shores and Currituck Club and the wastewater systems in Corolla Light and Monteray Shores. Currituck County was willing to purchase both water and sewer systems. However, Carolina Water Service chose to sell only the water systems to the county.

  5. What are the new wastewater rates for Corolla Light and Monteray Shores and water rates in Corolla Light, Monteray Shores and Currituck Club?

  6. Carolina Water Wastewater Service Rates

    ¾" Meter Base Rate = $55.54
    1" Meter Base Rate = $138.85
    Per Thousand Gallons = $7.06

    Wastewater bills from Carolina Water are directly tied to water usage. After the base rate fee, the wastewater bill adds $7.06 per thousand gallons of metered water usage. Therefore, customers can lower wastewater bills by conserving water usage.

    For example, a customer using 5,000 gallons of water, with a 1" meter base rate, would have a wastewater bill of $174.15. But a customer with a monthly water usage of 30,000 gallons would pay a wastewater bill of $350.65.

    SOBWS Water Rates

    Base Rate    Gallons Scale Per Thousand Gallons 
     $15  Up to 2,500  $3.50
     Surcharge  Up to 5,000  $4.50
     $75  Up to 10,000  $5.50
       Up to 15,000  $6.50
       Up to 20,000  $7.50
       Over 20,000  $8.50
      Through the SOBWS rate scale, customers who use less water per billing cycle pay a lower rate per thousand gallons of usage. This is fair and beneficial to customers who seek to lower their utility bills by wisely conserving their water usage.

    For example, a customer using 5,000 gallons of water would have a water bill of $112.50. But a customer with a monthly water usage of 30,000 gallons would pay a water bill of $345.00.

    Water

  7. Has SOBWS recently raised its rates?
  8. No, SOBWS has not raised its rates since the inception of the system in 2005. 
     
  9. If I need additional information about SOBWS where do I go?
  10. You may find more information on the Southern Outer Banks Water System online at www.co.currituck.nc.us/Southern-Outer-Banks-Water-System-.cfm

  11. Who do I contact with questions concerning my water bill in Corolla Light, Monteray Shores, Currituck Club and Pine Island?
  12. Please contact the Currituck County Water Department at 252-232-2769.

  13.  Why is there a $75 surcharge on my SOBWS water bill?
  14. This surcharge is necessary to fund the purchase of the water systems from Carolina Water. This fee will also help fund a necessary expansion of the reverse osmosis water plant. This surcharge will be in effect for five years. After this five-year period, the surcharge will not appear on your water bill.

  15.  Why wasn't I notified of the recent Currituck County water system acquisitions?

  16. An effort was made to notify the public before the sale was finalized. Carolina Water Service mailed notifications to their customers announcing the sale of the Corolla water systems to Currituck County. Following the notification, an open public hearing was held May 17, 2011 at the Corolla Library Meeting Room to discuss the pending sale and accept public comment.

  17. How can I obtain additional information concerning the Southern Outer Banks Water System's purchase of the water systems for Currituck Club, Monteray Shores, and Corolla Light?

  18. This information is recorded with the state. Please see the North Carolina Utilities Commission Docket W-354, Sub 332 at the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

  19. What is the difference in water usage between the Mainland System and SOBWS?

  20. The Mainland Water System uses an average of 5,566 gallons per month per customer. The SOBWS averages 7,240 gallons per month per customer.

  21. What is the average monthly water usage for SOBWS for the summer (June, July, and August) and the average for rest of the year?
  22. The summer months represent the peak water usage period for SOBWS. During these three (3)
    months, the average monthly water usage per customer is 13,740 gallons per month. For the remainder of the year, the average monthly water usage per customer is 7,240 gallons per month.

    The county encourages water customers to conserve water usage whenever possible throughout the year, but especially in the peak summer months, to take advantage of the lower rate fees per thousand gallons of water usage. Lowering your water usage will lower your SOBWS water bill AND lower your wastewater bill from Carolina Water.

    Wastewater

  23. To whom can I file a complaint with over the Carolina Water Service wastewater rate increase?

  24. Customers may file a complaint with the North Carolina Utilities Commission's Public Staff at: www.pubstaff.commerce.state.nc.us/

    Additional contact information:

    NC Utilities Commission Consumer Services
    Email: Consumer.Services@psncuc.nc.gov  
    Phone: 866-380-9816

  25. Why is my wastewater bill so much higher than before?

  26. The NC Public Utilities Commission approved a rate that was based on water usage instead of a flat rate. Wastewater customers are now charged a flat rate based on meter size plus $7.06 per thousand gallons based on metered water usage.

    The N.C. Utilities Commission determined that Carolina Water Service could charge a higher wastewater rate in Corolla Light and Monteray Shores than it does in other systems across the state. (See question # 16) Prior to this ruling, customers in these service areas enjoyed lower rates for several years because Carolina Water was able spread out its costs among all of its systems in North Carolina.

    This increase in wastewater rates reinforces the need for customers to be as efficient as possible with water usage.

  27. Who do I contact with questions concerning my wastewater bill in Corolla Light and Monteray Shores?

  28. Because the Carolina Water Service wastewater system was not sold to Currituck County, customers must still contact Carolina Water Service with any concerns regarding their wastewater bill. Carolina Water can be reached at 800-638-0262.

  29. How can I obtain additional information concerning the Carolina Water Service wastewater rate increase?

  30. This information is recorded with the state, and may be viewed by visiting the North Carolina Utility Commission Docket W-354, Sub 327 online document

  31. Why is Corolla Light and Monteray Shores charged a different wastewater rate than other Carolina Water Service systems in the state?
  32. This issue was addressed by the N.C. Utilities Commission. On January 9, 2009 NCUC in Docket W-354, Sub 314 under Order Granting Partial Rate Increase and Requiring Customer Notice Item 18:

    "It is not appropriate for CWS NC's other service areas to subsidize the additional costs of operating the water and wastewater systems in Corolla light and Monteray Shores because of the magnitude of the specific and unique costs associated with those systems."

    Because of this determination by the N.C. Utilities Commission, Carolina Water Service is allowed to charge a different wastewater rate in Corolla Light and Monteray Shores than it does in other systems in North Carolina.

    Officials from Currituck County Government attended this hearing of the N.C. Utilities Commission in Raleigh to oppose the Carolina Water Service's wastewater rates.

  33. Why is Corolla Light paying for the improvements to the Monteray Shores Wastewater Treatment Plant?

  34. This question was posed to the N.C. Utilities Commission Public Staff by Currituck County. Below is the response received from the Utility Commission's public staff:
    "Under the uniform rates it wasn't an issue because all CWS customers shared the cost for plant improvements across the board. Indeed it has become an issue, especially now that they finished the plant modifications and transfer of the water system. At the time there was talk of a developer purchasing the plant but it fell through and as you know we were focusing on resolving the water issues in this last case.

    The real problem is the customer base is so small for Monteray Shores their rates would be even higher. It has always been considered one service area for both water and sewer so we left it as is. My guess is that in the next rate case, sewer will go back into uniform rates now that water issue has been resolved."
  35. Why were the wastewater rates lower before Corolla Light and Monteray Shores separated from the other Carolina Water Service systems in the state?

  36. The Corolla Light and Monteray Shores benefited from lower rates in the years before 2009 because Carolina Water spread the cost of wastewater collection and treatment to their other systems in the state.

    However, with the NCUC ruling of January 9, 2009, Carolina Water now charges a higher wastewater rate in Corolla Light and Monteray Shores than it does in other systems.

  37. Did Currituck County object to Carolina Water wastewater rate increase?

  38. Yes, Currituck County objected to the wastewater rate increase imposed by Carolina Water Service upon Corolla Light and Monteray Shores. As stated in Q&A #16, Currituck County Government officials attended the N.C. Utilities

    Commission hearing to oppose in person the wastewater rates of Carolina Water. Currituck County has opposed these rates for several years, and the county has been working to improve Carolina Water's wastewater and water service since 1999. The county has an official complaint recorded with the North Carolina Utilities Commission.