Two residents of Stoney Creek are reporting some success in their efforts to stop what was to be a large rate increase for water and sewer service. Aqua, the service provider to some 600 properties in the Wintergreen subdivision, proposed rate increases of 49 percent on water and 48 percent sewer.
"Although the final approval by the (State Corporation) Commission is still several months away, we think we can report good news to the Aqua community here at Wintergreen," Hank Gibbs and Bruce Henderson noted in a May 4th post on the Wintergreen Property Owners Association's website. They said after their most recent meeting with the SCC, they believe:
- There will be no increases in water and sewer rates, and any increases paid due to interim rates will be refunded with interest.
- The community's current 3000-gallon monthly allowance will remain in place.
- A proposed infrastructure charge will not occur, "but this is not a certainty."
"Our success in pushing back against Aqua’s rates increase request was driven by three factors," Gibbs and Henderson noted in their May 4th post. (A) the support of our community with about 450 protests..., (B) the unified opposition of six counties in the Aqua service areas and the State Consumer Affairs office, and (C) the acceptance of our community’s research and the case presented.
"However, we must be vigilant," they said in their report to their Wintergreen community. "Aqua will again, and we believe in the near term, petition the SCC for another rate increase. If it is not 'just and reasonable,' we have to be prepared to push back against it.
"This volunteer effort has become more than two people can handle," the two men wrote in their report. "As a result, there needs to be something more formal to address these issues. This might take the shape of a joint effort between WPOA, the (Wintergreen) Valley Association, and volunteers, hopefully, some with legal credentials. We will be discussing this with the two organizations in the coming weeks."