water privatization

Private water, public nightmare: Customers face another rate hike for dirty water

It may be a different neighborhood, but it's the same story:

Hours before a public hearing for Carolina Water Service customers over a proposed price increase, customers in one Pender County community serviced by the utility company were once again experiencing water clarity issues.

Joyce Diggett, who lives in Hampstead’s Belvedere community, said she woke up Wednesday and jumped into the shower. Soon, though, she said her face began to burn. “I looked down and I was like, ‘I’m bathing in dirt,’” she said. She said the water was murky, full of sediment, and left a film on her skin almost like oil.

Carolina Water Service is a subsidiary of Utilities, Inc., an Illinois-based company that has been taking over public water and sewer operations for decades. Much like Aqua America, they prey on small towns and exurban communities who either don't have connections to larger municipal water supplies, or who make the wrong decision to get rid of their public works staff and let a private company take over. That first scenario is a conundrum, but the second is pure stupidity, most often driven by the desire to "trim the fat" and reduce taxes and government-collected fees for services. But inevitably, citizens end up paying more and getting less:

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