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Residents angry about possible 149 percent sewer bill hike

READ MORE: Residents angry about possible 149 percent sewer bill hike
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NORTH TOPSAIL, NC (WWAY) -- Some Pender and Onslow County residents are outraged at the idea of a 149 percent increase in their sewer bills.

Pluris sewer company has requested the rate increase from its customers. The request must first go through the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

"(Nearly) 150 percent increase, which is in my opinion, un-American, exorbitant, and unconsciousable,” Sneads Ferry resident and Pluris customer Robert Chasserot said. “It's ridiculous."

"I'm extremely angry,” said North Topsail resident and Pluris customer Annette Ramey.

"It is ridiculous,” added Sneads Ferry resident and fellow Pluris customer Anthony Fiore. “It shows that the company has not planned in advance."

Pluris sewer company's request is being handled by the state's utilities commission. The commission listened to comments and complaints at a public hearing Thursday night in North Topsail. The question on most people's minds: Why?

"They primarily state that they've increased the capacity of the sewer system,” NC Utilities Commissioner Bryan Beatty said. “They've put in a new plant since they've purchased the system a few years ago, so they have to pay for that as well as other costs of maintenance that have been increased since the last time there was a rate increase, I believe 10 or 12 years ago."

Beatty said the commission serves as a judge, making sure laws are followed and that whatever increase, if any is given is wise and that no more is given than absolutely necessary.

"I moved down here 11 years ago from New York to get away from the high utility bills and the high taxes and everything else,” Fiore said.

"I feel that they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes and shove the rate increase down our throats,” Ramey said.

"If Pluris can get away with this, who knows what's next? Your electric, your water, garbage, taxes,” said Chasserot.

Beatty says a hearing is set for next month in Raleigh. The commission will make a decision based on public hearings and any evidence from Pluris. Any rate changes could go into effect as early as November.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Pluris New Plant Good for Environment

I actually called Pluris and requested to see the new plant that they built. I met the plant manager and got shown the place. Its high tech and they even have a fish tank where the water flows into after treatment. I couldn't believe how clear the water was and the fish were doin fine. The staff were friendly and answered my questions. All of the people at Pluris are local folks that have lived here for years. They said since Pluris took over the utility that they have invested almost ten million dollars in the new plant and improvements and there are no customers who can't get sewer like when the previous owners were there.

Pluris.....who are you?

I live on North Topsail Beach and moved here in late 2010. I bought a home and never knew what was suppose to happen with my sewer. My alarm in my yard (those with Pluris may know what I am talking about) went off in mid 2013 and a couple repairs guys came out to fix the issue. A few weeks later I started getting notices to call the office about an "urgent issue". They were giving me sewer services and never even had my address on file. They backlogged me 3 months, which was when the first notice was sent out. I lived here for the lower rates, but never hd to pay them. I also lived here when trash service was free. Now it is included with water even if you don't use the trash.

There is very little info on Pluris as a company. Their website is very vague and the people in the local office can't tell me much when I ask them why certain things happen the way they do. There are boil water advisories, which are reported by ONWASA not Pluris, that happen at least 2 two times a month.

Most of NTB was not planned out well and there is no reason to believe the sewer system was designed any better. I think we need a a full report on why things are the way they are. I want to know what the future holds for my sewer system. How bad is it really?

This is directly from their website "With increasing challenges to fresh water supplies and aging water and wastewater systems, Pluris’s focus is on smaller community systems where financial strain leaves little or no means for upgrading and servicing systems in these vital communities." I would like them to explain exactly how NTB fits into that criteria.

Pluris Sewer Fee Increase (aka price gouging)

Having just moved to the Onslow County area from Southern California I have heard a lot of neighbors state that they love this area for the cheap living expenses. My response to that is, "Are you insane?" Granted, in California you do pay significantly more for your property than in NC, however, utility expenses are considerably lower compared to this little corner of NC. My opinion, it sounds a lot like "good ole boy", "elbow rubbin', "under the table hand-shakin' deals" that have spawned this price gouging agenda. Especially, considering that a large percentage of the land that Pluris currently provides services to was and still is in fact, swamp land including the land that Pluris, LLC (Snead's Ferry) resides upon. Furthermore, Snead's Ferry receives its water services from Onslow Water and Sewer Authority (ONWASA) so, my question is why are we paying another agency for the sewer service. Is this another example of some small shrimpin' town, "good ole boy" politics? My challenge to the good people of Snead's Ferry; force this corporation to explain in great detail to you (not the politicians in Raleigh) the reasons that they are price gouging your sewer services and demand a recant of their current service rate hike. If you don't mind paying a 150% rate increase then keep living your life in whatever way you see fit. But, if you think that this is an example of some small-town people getting the wool pulled over their eyes then, fight back and oust this company from the Snead's Ferry - North Topsail Beach area.

You moved here for less government and low taxes

Now you complain because a private business wants to up their price 150%? Next you will complain about the terrible public schools and a crime rate higher than NYC.

Sewer Hike of 150%

Obviously -- this Pluris company can't even ballance their own check book -- let alone be accountable for their unorthodox method of accountability. We wonder how many political "palms' this company has greased in Raleigh -- as why a hearing now will be held in Raleigh.

Pluris Rate Increase without Notice

Pluris in Orlando Florida is doing the same thing except the residents in the sub-division were never notified to input their comments. We just received a notice that an increase was going into effect on October 1, 2012 - 4 days notice. They are lowly thieves providing no service. In addition, their water system started going down on Wednesday, Sept 19, and they never posted "BOIL WATER ALERT NOTICES" UNTIL 2 1/2 DAYS LATER. Today, a notice was posted that the Boil Water Alert was no longer necessary - low & behold - the water system is down again today for at least 4 hours - but again no BOIL WATER ALERT NOTICE.

Hopefully, the media in all states where this shady business operates will expose them until they are put out of business

Pluris is a Good Company

I have lived in North Topsail Beach and been through two owners and Pluris does a lot better service than the last company.You are not from here and don't know us. All of us residents in NTB who have lots could not build because there was no sewer. Pluris did what they said they would do and the town even tried to force them to build the plant. I went to all the hearings on Pluris and was sketical at first but no more. They are a good company and all the employees here are local. And I have been here since the rate were last raised which was 16 years ago. Don't know what is going on in your town and don't care but I suspect you don't pay your bill and just mad because a company has to raise rates to operate. Freeloader.

150% request is just a tactic

I live in a development where my private out-of-state water provider did the same thing. It's a tactic and it usually works.

Water company applies to the State Commission for a huge increase. Commission holds "public" hearings, but in Raleigh so very few will show up to protest the increase. Company settles for a "reduced" rate of increase. Commission then claims to have "protected" the customers from the hugh increase. Water company gets the increase they actually wanted. Commission members get political credits (which in politics these days is like actual cash in the bank) that they use to advance themselves to the next political level. Both sides win.

Of course the consumer always loses, but neither party ever gave a "whatever" about the consumer in the first place.

TRUTH HURTS

I have read through all the variou scomments on this subject and the botom line is YOUR COMMENT. Finallly someone gets it. Crooked politicians and croked commisioners. I cant wait until this bypass to the greater TopSail area is completed I can only imagine what oour tax increase is going to look like. I think its time that residents stop funding the good times of all others, this includes tourists. I think I am going to consider my primary home in another location of the US and use my beach home as a complete write off rental property. Maybe then will I be able to play the game as many others.