Midlands utility provider seeks 80 percent rate hike

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina regulators say a water and sewer service provider is seeking approval for an 80 percent rate increase.

      The Office of Regulatory Staff said Wednesday that Carolina Water Service Inc. wants to raise rates from an average of $36 a month for full-service water customers to more than $65. Typical full-service sewer customers would see a smaller increase of about $5 a month to $44.

      Carolina Water Service has more than 7,600 water and 11,000 sewer customers in Aiken, Beaufort, Georgetown, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, Williamsburg and York counties.

      Regulatory Staff executive director Dukes Scott is encouraging customers to get involved in the hearing that will determine the new rates.

      A company spokesman says the rate increase would help recoup $10 million in plant improvements.

      (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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