Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina Hurricane Isaias Preparedness Update

Aug 02, 2020

August 2, 2020 - Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina (CWSNC) is preparing for the potential landfall and aftermath of Hurricane Isaias . CWSNC has activated its emergency management procedures to anticipate the potential impact from the wind, rain, and flooding associated with a hurricane of this potential magnitude. Our operators will respond as quickly as possible to any issues related to the hurricane, putting our customers' safety and employees first. 

CWSNC operators are working diligently to ensure all on-site and portable redundant generator power sources are tested, operate efficiently, and be supplied with sufficient backup fuel supplies in the event of power loss to the water infrastructure. Additionally, CWSNC operators are evaluating and securing all supplies necessary for the water and wastewater plants to maintain operations for prolonged periods in the event roadways are impassable immediately after the hurricane. Operational personnel may be reallocated to assist with maintaining operations at our Eastern North Carolina systems.

Due to the Covid – 19 virus, our employees will observe physical distancing; and they'll use the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) in field and plant work. Please refrain from engaging our employees unless an emergency arises.

Operators are relocating generators from our Western North Carolina service areas to ensure continuity of service in our Eastern North Carolina communities.

Fuel carts are ready to provide needed fuel to our generators on the coast to supply generators.

CWSNC works diligently during any storm or emergency to keep our water and wastewater services running. However, in some instances, there may be a disruption in the service to allow CWSNC to take a system off-line to make needed repairs. 

The My Utility Connect application is how CWSNC primarily communicates with our customers. They can choose to receive notifications via text, email, mobile device, or landline calls.

Updates regarding our preparation and response post-hurricane will also be posted on our website https://www.myutility.us/carolinawaterservicenc and social media accounts—Facebook and Twitter (@CarolinaWaterNC) to keep customers informed. 


Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources - Be Prepared

Jul 30, 2020

Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena. On average, 12 tropical storms, 6 of which become hurricanes form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. In

Over a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 mph or greater). By knowing what actions to take before the hurricane season begins, when a hurricane approaches, and when the storm is in your area, as well as what to do after a hurricane leaves your area, you can increase your chance of survival. If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of a hurricane, please share your story, including the town and state you were in and the year the event took place.. Please note that NS will then have permission to use your story for educational campaigns. Sharing this information may help save someone’s life in the future. Read stories from survivors and learn how to stay safe.

Hurricane Hazards

While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depression also can be devastating. The primary hazards from tropical cyclones (which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) are storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents.

  • Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast.
  • Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers, and estuaries.
  • Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated.
  • Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. Signs, roofing material, and other items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes.
  • Tornadoes can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm.
  • Dangerous waves produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion, and damage to structures along the coastline, even when the storm is more than a 1,000 miles offshore.

 


Current Rate Information for 2020 - What you Need to Know!

Jun 03, 2020

COVID-19.  As a result of COVID-19 and until some point in the future, CWSNC has reconnected all customers disconnected for non-payment, suspended all future disconnects, and has ceased collecting and billing late payment charges. 

While we know that there is no good time for a rate increase, we also understand the impacts of a rate increase during this unprecedented period and are committed to working with our customers during and after the state of emergency. Once the pandemic-related orders are lifted by the Governor's office and the NC Utilities Commission, we will provide payment plans or payment arrangements for customers impacted financially by the COVID-19 virus.  That said, customers may now contact the Company at any time to request a payment arrangement or payment plan.

About CWSNC

On June 28, 2019, Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina (CWSNC) filed a rate case with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC). Docket number is W-354, Sub 364.

CWSNC is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Company presently serves approximately 34,915 water customers and 21,403 sewer customers in North Carolina and operates approximately 93 water systems and 38 sewer systems in the State.

The Company’s service territory spans 38 counties in North Carolina, from Corolla in Currituck County to Bear Paw in Cherokee County. CWSNC applied for an adjustment in water and sewer rates and charges for all of its service areas in North Carolina.

 A list of systems and their customer counts is shown on the last pages of this document.

About CWSNC’s Rate Filing

CWSNC’s previous rate case (W-354, Sub 360) was filed on April 27, 2018 and an order was issued approving the consolidated rates in effect since February 21, 2019.

Customers’ rates are based on a thorough cost, operations, and quality of service review by the NCUC Public Staff, NC Attorney General’s office, and other intervenors in the proceeding.  In addition, customers may provide comments and feedback during the public hearings held throughout the Company’s service territory during the course of the rate case process.  The proper level of rates to be charged by the Company to facilitate proper service to its customers are ultimately approved by the NCUC commissioners. 

The cost of service and tariff rate proposals are more fully explained in CWSNC’s rate filing documentation which is made publicly available through the Commission’s website. All parties interested in this matter may obtain information either directly from CWSNC or by addressing the Secretary of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, 430 North Salisbury Street, Dobbs Building, 5th Floor, Raleigh, NC 27603-5918.  Customers may also visit the NCUC website and search Docket “W-354 Sub 364” at https://starw1.ncuc.net/NCUC/page/Dockets/portal.aspx.

The new rates are effective March 31, 2020.

What drove CWSNC to file for a rate increase?

We have the responsibility to upgrade our infrastructure and make necessary improvements to continue to provide quality service.  We also must comply with changing state and federal environmental regulations and maintain a safe working environment for our employees.  It is well-accepted that water and sewer infrastructure across the country is aging and in need of significant investment to maintain proper service and address environmental concerns.  Many of the Company’s systems are reaching the end of their useful life and must be replaced, rehabilitated, or upgraded to avoid system failures.  To that end, CWSNC has invested over $22 million in capital improvements since its last rate case, which were not included in your prior rates.

It is important to note that all investments driving the requested increase have already been incurred by the Company, and are benefitting customers before a change in rates is implemented.

Will the WSIC/SSIC surcharges continue?

As of March 31, 2020 ,the WSIC/SSIC surcharges will reset to $0.  These charges may resume in the future should the Company continue to invest in eligible improvements in its water and sewer infrastructure  and would be subject to review and approval by the Commission.

Why are some rate increases higher or lower than others?

The Company has been working toward levelizing rates for customers across its service areas for the past several rate cases.  This practice is common in the utility industry (gas, electric), and this enables the Company to spread the impact of its costs and improvements across a larger customer base, which results in smaller, incremental increases over time.  Levelized rates ultimately benefit all CWSNC customers and protects small standalone groups of ratepayers from solely bearing the cost of large infrastructure investments. 

CWSNC understands that no one likes rate increases and makes every effort to keep operating expenses to a reasonable minimum while maintaining a system that produces safe and reliable service.  However, a rate increase is needed to finance ongoing operations, capital investments, and allow the Company the opportunity to earn a reasonable return on its investment. 

Prior rates did not reflect rising costs that have resulted from increased investment, inflation and compliance with expanding environmental and regulatory requirements.

 

Corolla Light and Monteray Shores subdivisions (Sewer):  Corolla/Monteray rates have been held flat for the past several rate cases by the Commission, as the remaining Uniform Sewer rates have moved closer to the Corolla/Monteray rates.  In this filing, the costs for the consolidated Uniform Sewer tariff group have now reached levels that allow for Corolla/Monteray’s rates to be consolidated with the rest of the Uniform Sewer group’s rates.

Corolla Light and Monteray Shores rates were approved to be fully consolidated into the CWSNC Uniform Sewer tariff group as of March 31, 2020.  The average customer with 5,448 gallons billed per month will see a decrease of 4.78% on their monthly bill.

CONTINUATION OF EXISTING TAX CREDITS:

What is the “Federal Tax Refund”?

With the passing of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), the federal tax rate applicable to CWSNC decreased effective 1/1/2018.  As the Company’s rates did not adjust to capture this change until February 2019, the Company refunded excess taxes recovered from customer rates over that time period – January 1, 2018 until February 20, 2019.  This refund ran for one year (until February 2020) and includes interest. 

These funds have been fully returned to customers between February 2019 and February 2020 and the surcredit is no longer applicable.

What is the “Federal Deferred Tax Refund”?

With the passing of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), the federal tax rate applicable to CWSNC decreased effective 1/1/2018.  The Company is required to reserve funds for expected future tax payments (deferred taxes), which are now lower due to the tax rate decrease.  Therefore, the portion of the reserve that is no longer payable to the federal government is being refunded to customers.  The refund will run for two years and includes interest.

The refund has been recalculated as of March 31, 2020 to be 0.953% of the base and volumetric charges on each customer’s monthly bill.

What is changing with my water and sewer rates?

The table below shows a comparison of average water and sewer bills at old and new rates for a 5/8” residential customer.

Entity

Avg. Billed Gallons

Present Monthly Bill

New Monthly Bill

Amount Change

% Change

Uniform Water

3,607

$ 53.07

$ 58.75

$ 5.68

11%

Uniform Sewer

3,569

$ 59.23

$ 75.29

$ 16.06

27%

BF/FH/TC Water

4,129

$ 32.22

$ 34.64

$ 2.42

8%

BF/FH/TC Sewer

N/A - Flat Rate

$ 50.46

$ 53.91

$ 3.45

7%


A comparison of the new authorized rates for Uniform Water is below.

Residential Water

 

Old Rates

New Rates

 

Meter Size

Base Rate

Usage Rate

Base Rate

Usage Rate

 

Unmetered

$ 53.58

 

$ 58.54

 

 

5/8"

$ 27.53

$ 7.08

$ 28.92

$8.27

 

3/4"

$ 27.53

$ 7.08

$ 28.92

$8.27

 

1"

$ 68.83

$ 7.08

$ 72.30

$8.27

 

1.5"

$ 137.65

$ 7.08

$ 144.60

$8.27

 

2"

$ 220.24

$ 7.08

$ 231.36

$8.27

Commercial Water

 

 

 

 

 

5/8"

$ 27.53

$ 7.08

$ 28.92

$8.27

 

3/4"

$ 27.53

$ 7.08

$ 28.92

$8.27

 

1"

$ 68.83

$ 7.08

$ 72.30

$8.27

 

1.5"

$ 137.65

$ 7.08

$ 144.60

$8.27

 

2"

$ 220.24

$ 7.08

$ 231.36

$8.27

 

3"

$ 412.95

$ 7.08

$ 433.80

$8.27

 

4"

$ 688.25

$ 7.08

$ 723.00

$8.27

 

6"

$ 1,376.50

$ 7.08

$ 1,446.00

$8.27

Availability

 

$12.35

 

$13.60

 

 

A comparison of the new authorized rates for Uniform Sewer is below.

Residential Sewer

 

Old Rates

New Rates

 

Meter Size

Base Rate

Usage Rate

Base Rate

Usage Rate

 

Flat

$ 57.82

 

$ 73.73

 

 

Base Charge

$ 46.31

$ 3.62

$ 58.91

$4.59

Commercial Sewer

 

 

 

 

 

Flat

$ 57.82

$ 73.73

 

5/8" - 3/4"

$ 46.31

$ 3.62

$ 58.91

$4.59

 

1"

$ 115.78

$ 3.62

$ 147.28

$4.59

 

1.5"

$ 231.55

$ 3.62

$ 294.55

$4.59

 

2"

$ 370.48

$ 3.62

$ 471.28

$4.59

 

3"

$ 694.65

$ 3.62

$ 883.65

$4.59

 

4"

$ 1,157.75

$ 3.62

$ 1,472.75

$4.59

 

6"

$ 2,315.50

$ 3.62

$ 2,945.50

$4.59

 

A comparison of the new authorized rates for BF/FH/TC Water is below.

Residential Water

 

Old Rates

New Rates

 

Meter Size

Base Rate

Usage Rate

Base Rate

Usage Rate

 

5/8" - 3/4"

$ 16.74

$ 3.75

$ 17.30

$ 4.20

 

1"

$ 41.85

$ 3.75

$ 43.25

$ 4.20

 

1.5"

$ 83.70

$ 3.75

$ 86.50

$ 4.20

 

2"

$ 133.92

$ 3.75

$ 138.40

$ 4.20

Commercial Water

 

 

 

 

 

5/8" - 3/4"

$ 16.74

$ 3.75

$ 17.30

$ 4.20

 

1"

$ 41.85

$ 3.75

$ 43.25

$ 4.20

 

1.5"

$ 83.70

$ 3.75

$ 86.50

$ 4.20

 

2"

$ 133.92

$ 3.75

$ 138.40

$ 4.20

Availability

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$3.28

 

$3.55

 

 

A comparison of the new authorized rates for BF/FH/TC Sewer is below.

Residential Sewer

 

Old Rates

New Rates

 

Meter Size

Base Rate

Usage Rate

Base Rate

Usage Rate

 

Flat

$ 50.46

 

$ 53.91

 

 

Bulk Sewer

$ 50.46

 

$ 53.91

 

 

Apartments

$ 50.46

 

$ 53.91

 

Commercial Sewer

 

 

 

 

 

5/8"

$ 44.58

$ 1.43

$ 44.62

$ 2.25

 

1"

$ 111.45

$ 1.43

$ 111.55

$ 2.25

 

1.5"

$ 222.90

$ 1.43

$ 223.10

$ 2.25

 

2"

$ 356.64

$ 1.43

$ 356.96

$ 2.25

Availability

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$2.65

 

$2.85

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me at deb.clark@corixgroup.com if you have any further questions.

Deborah S. Clark
Communications and Community Relations Manager

 


Governor Roy Cooper Requests Utilities to Suspend Disconnects for 60 Additional Days

Jun 02, 2020

Governor Roy Cooper has requested utilities to suspend disconnects for an additional 60 days with his Executive Order 124 on May 30, 2020.

Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina will continue to suspend disconnects due to non-payment until we receive the Governor's Executive Order to restart.

However, please do not accrue an excessive balance. This will make it hard for payment when the disconnects for non-payment do restart. If you need help with a payment plan or payment arrangement now, please call our Customer Service Team at (800) 525-7990.

https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO142-Temp-Prohibitions-on-Evictions-and-Extending-Prohibition-on-Utility-Shut-Offs.pdf