Utility company asking to double rates
CENTRAL - Residents in five parishes could be facing a rate increase to cover their sewer fee. Mo-Dad Utilities wants the Public Service Commission to approve a rate increase to cover maintenance and repair costs.
Many Mo-Dad customers currently pay between $22 and $25 for services. The company is requesting to almost double that, between $42 and $48 to cover repair and service costs. A price, that has some customers questioning their service.
"Twenty five dollars? Yeah, that's low," said Adam Salsbury. "But doubling that, and not getting any better service, no I don't agree."
Over 100 Mo-Dad facilities servicing 7,000 customers in Ascension, West Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge, St. Helena and Tangipahoa Parishes do not meet the environmental standards imposed by the Department of Environmental Quality. The company has been under investigation by DEQ since 2006 after finding high fecal coliform levels, no permits, untreated sewage and busted filters at a number of facilities.
DEQ has provided a long compliance order to clean up the problem, but Mo-Dad has been unable to keep up with repairs.
At Amber Lakes in Central, DEQ is requiring Mo-Dad completely rebuild the lift station, clean up a sludge problem, and upgrade air blowers.
Residents are familiar with the problems.
"We fought for a year trying to get it fixed, wouldn't come out here and fix it," said Salsbury. "I mean they're never here unless we have an issue, they're not really here that we can see, and if they are, they're not telling anybody anything."
Mo-Dad's last rate increase was in 2004 and in documents obtained by the WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit, there has been no rate relief since then and are operating at a loss. Mo-Dad says it needs an extra $160,000 a month to keep up with DEQ's compliance order.
The PSC received the rate case in October and will review the material and make a decision based on research.