Mark Payne Nov. 28, 2014, 9:34am

RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper filed a brief in the state Supreme Court on Monday attempting to prevent Aqua North Carolina from raising rates without first having to go through the entire approval process.

Earlier this year, the North Carolina Utilities Commission granted Aqua North Carolina an improvement charge mechanism, which allows it to increase rates on a more regular basis without going through the commission's full review process.

The process includes holding hearings in which residential consumers, business owners and others can provide feedback on requested rate increases. 

Cooper believes giving Aqua North Carolina immunity from the full process is a mistake and doesn't keep the consumer in mind.

“Decisions to raise rates on critical services like water and sewer deserve a thorough review, not a rubber stamp,” Cooper said. “Fast-tracking the process for utility rate hikes is not in the public’s interest.”

In his brief, Cooper said that the fee alteration “Is burdensome (for consumers) because it provides the virtual certainty of continued and more frequent rate increases – when Aqua’s rates are already very high and its consumers have already been hit with a number of rate increases during challenging economic times - without any certainty whatsoever that Aqua will improve its poor water quality.”

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