SC Supreme Court throws out lower court ruling on Graniteville water rates

Friday, Nov. 6, 2009 1:09 PM
Last updated 4:04 PM
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Online extra: Read the appeal letter that was sent to the the South Carolina Public Service Commission. (PDF format)

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The South Carolina Supreme Court has issued a ruling negating a previous Circuit Court injunction that was temporarily placed on new water and sewer rates for Graniteville and Vaucluse residents.

State Rep. Roland Smith, R-Warrenville, said the Supreme Court essentially found that the water issue shouldn’t have gone to a circuit court for consideration but that the proper procedure for a challenge was to first go back to the South Carolina Public Service Commission and then the state appeals court.

“It’s a setback for the people we are representing and the people having to pay the water bills,” Mr. Smith said today.

In response to the supreme court ruling, Mr. Smith said some Graniteville resident today have filed an appeal with the PSC concerning their complaint that proper notice wasn’t given of new water and sewer rates, which were approved in June and in some cases caused Graniteville and Vaucluse residents’ bills to increase by hundreds of dollars.

Already, another appeal had been pending with the PSC as to whether the rates were fair. Mr. Smith said that appeal is still awaiting a ruling by the PSC.

In the circuit court case, the issue presented only dealt with whether residents were given proper notice of the new rates being approved before receiving their first higher bill in July. That case was prompted in part at the request of Mr. Smith, state lawmakers Shane Massey and Tom Young and Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt, who is a Graniteville resident. Circuit Court Judge Jack Early ruled in August that Avondale was temporarily restricted from collecting on the new rates that were originally due Aug. 15 and couldn’t implement the new rates "until proper notice is given." He also ruled that late fees on bills due Aug. 15 couldn’t be charged, and customers' water and sewer service couldn’t be terminated based on overdue payments of July 31 bills.

Judge Early found at the time that his court had jurisdiction because the case is not specifically addressing the rates but focusing on whether proper notice of their approval was given.

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Little Lamb
51840
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Little Lamb 11/06/09 - 01:24 pm
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Yes, it was the politicians

Yes, it was the politicians attempting to placate the whiners that has kept this thing in the courts. The rates were raised according to procedure. Notice was made. It was all over the Augusta papers, and I know it was in the Aiken Standard. They had notices in the water bills. Just how much notice do these yay-hoos need?

noway
201
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noway 11/06/09 - 02:25 pm
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LittleLamb, unless you live

LittleLamb, unless you live in Graniteville, keep your trap shut. You have no idea what a huge mess this has caused for residents, renters and landlords due to this horrible issue. I'm sorry, but even if you know the rates, you do not expect your bill to go up from $5.00 a month to $50.00 or more a month. So stop your name-calling and harsh judgment.

grinder48
2146
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grinder48 11/06/09 - 02:38 pm
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Seems simple to me. Water
Unpublished

Seems simple to me. Water should be provided at no profit. So if it costs $X to produce and delivery a gallon of water, each user (households, businesses, churches, etc.) pays $X per gallon used, whether it's $5 or $5000. If users pay less than cost, who's going to make up the difference?

Fiat_Lux
17540
Points
Fiat_Lux 11/06/09 - 02:46 pm
0
0
It's a huge hardship when

It's a huge hardship when you're living on limited funds to have one bill soar by 10- or 20-fold, even if you're given plenty of warning about it. If you don't get more income, what the heck are you supposed to do? Stop taking baths and washing your family's clothes? This whole situation is a freaking mess, and the state of SC should come to the aid of a community that has taken devastating hits through no fault of its own.

nofrills
0
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nofrills 11/06/09 - 05:49 pm
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they should of used some

they should of used some train wreck money to sink a well

curly123053
5991
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curly123053 11/06/09 - 08:01 pm
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0
The merry go round keeps

The merry go round keeps going around..........round and round and round it goes where it stops nobody knows.

williamrobert
0
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williamrobert 12/19/09 - 01:32 am
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just a bunch of losers

just a bunch of losers wanting something for nothing. the average water bill in the u.s. is $45. A $5-$10 water bill isn't even paying for the chemical in the water. Quit your whinning, wake up, and realize your in the 21st century.

corgimom
43452
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corgimom 12/19/09 - 09:55 am
0
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"I'm sorry, but even if you

"I'm sorry, but even if you know the rates, you do not expect your bill to go up from $5.00 a month to $50.00 or more a month. " Welcome to reality. Did you really think that $5.00 per month was sustainable, realistic, fair, and would last forever?

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