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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.

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