LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Residents in one Lafayette subdivision are speaking out after an unexpected hike in sewer rates.
A month ago Water and Wastewater Utilities sent one woman a bill for 26 bucks.
This month, she got another bill, only this one rose 63%.
The Sawgrass Subdivision in Lafayette Parish is one of many neighborhoods across the state to see a rise in their sewer bills.
Patricia Fontenot said, “I’ve lived here for a little over a year and they’ve pretty much doubled in the past month.”
Jamie Leblanc says she saw the increase in her bill, as well. “The usage has stayed the same and pretty much everybody in the neighborhood has complained about it.”
Both women say the nearly $20 hike isn’t too bad, but a heads up from the utility company would have been nice.
“Normally, you would expect a letter in the mail saying that they possibly anticipate an increase and we have not received anything. Even when we reached out we didn’t get an explanation.”
Leblanc’s response was nearly identical.
“Our bills have doubled without any notification of explanation. We have reached out and have gotten no feedback” Leblanc said.
We reached out to the Louisiana Public Service Commission which approved the rate increase for Water and Wastewater Utilities, a product of Howell Environmental Companies, housed in Scott.
In an emailed response to questions about customers being notified of the increase we sent to the LPS Commissioner Craig Greene, his office replied,
“Yes. Notice of W&W’s request for an increased rate was published in the Commission’s Official Bulletin No. 1142.”
Which, after a little digging, we were able to find the official bulletin.
As for why such a steep increase:
“W&W sought this increase in order to update and improve its water and sewer systems, including water treatment plant rehabilitation at 48 systems, general inflow and infiltration investigative work, meter replacements, pump replacements, LDEQ requirements, and infrastructure repairs.”
The Public Service Commission says additional notices were published in official journals of Lafayette, St. Martin, and Sabine parishes.
If any utility customer feels there may be an error with their utility bill, first, reach out to the provider.
If the error goes unaddressed, call the Louisiana Public Service Commission at 1-800-256-6004.