OUACHITA PARISH, La. (03/26/19) – Expect higher bills starting next month, if you get your water from Greater Ouachita Water Company (GOWC).
“What else is new…it’s frustrating”, said Chris Doyle.
Doyle has been a customer with GOWC for over 10 years.
“there’s no other companies so they can do what they want to do” said Doyle.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) approved GOWC’s request to raise rates, affecting around 28,000 people.
“GOWC did not get everything they were asking for in this rate application there was some pushback from LPSC”, said GOWC president Philip McQueen.
In the end, GOWC and LPSC did come to an agreement. The company requested more money to refinance their existing debt, and improve existing water systems that have been around since 1963.
“Parts of our system are really old and will require extensive rehabilition especially for our distressed systems”, said McQueen.
$31 million dollars will go to capital improvement projects.
“If there’s an increase or an issue you want to see that it’s justified”, said Doyle.
An advance metering system with automated reads is part of the improvements.
“That will allow for accurate reads system wide, remove any human error, and provide customers with real time readings of their usage”, said McQueen.
Doyle says he’s no stranger to improper meter reads.
“Call in and try to get an explanation and its oh you need to check there might be a leak”, said Doyle.
The average water customer will see an increase of $9 to $10. McQueen says that number will eventually drop to $8 to $9.
Doyle believes if he has to pay more for his water, he needs to see proof the extra dollars are making a difference.
“Show us where the money is being invested and that it is better”, said Doyle.
Mcqueen says customers will start seeing the higher rates the 4th week of april. The automated meter system will be in place within the next year and a half.