Belvedere – Facts about Rates and Billing
The current rate for water and wastewater is the same for all customers within the Belvedere community. Every community in Belvedere pays the same amount for water and wastewater including the base rate and the per-gallon charge.
Shown below are the base rates for water and wastewater as well as the per-gallon charges within the current tariff that is approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) and a comparison with the current Pender County Water rates.
Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina (CWSNC) cannot change the rates approved by the NCUC without going through a thorough review by the NCUC. When a base rate case is filed, rates are only approved after public hearings, where customers are able to testify about the rates and their service. During these cases, multiple public hearings are held throughout the state. Customers may also submit written comments to the Commission for consideration as well.
An analysis of the costs for CWSNC, per our current tariff rates, vs. Pender County Water is set forth below and compares the costs associated with water. Note that the associated costs are comparable in that the CWSNC and Pender County base rate and per gallon charge vary by only a couple of dollars.
CWSNC base rate and per gallon charge for water
|Residential Water||Current Rates|
|Meter Size||Base Rate||Usage Rate per 1,000 gallons|
Pender County base rate and per gallon charge for water
|Residential Water||Current Rates|
|Meter Size||Base Rate||Usage Rate per 1,000 gallons|
Since Pender County does not offer wastewater service in this area, only the CWSNC base rate and per gallon charge for wastewater* is included below:
|Residential Sewer||Current Rates|
|Meter Size||Base Rate||Usage Rate|
|Base Charge||$ 58.91||$4.59|
- Do I pay more than anyone else in the Belvedere Community?
No, everyone pays the same rate and base charge regardless of the community or neighborhood in Belvedere.
In 2017, there was discussion of a water filter for the community to address hardness. What happened to the proposed water filtration system?
Hardness, as an attribute of drinking water, is not regulated. However, in 2019, Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina (CWSNC) presented the Belvedere Homeowners Association an option to install a water softener/filtration system to address the secondary water quality issues directly related to hardness. CWSNC compiled three competitive bids for a water softening system. The bids received in 2019 for the potential, central water softener/filtration system ranged from $1.5 million to $1.8 million.
Because of the significant cost involved in pursuing this secondary water quality treatment solution, CWSNC presented the project to the Public Staff of the NCUC to review. The Public Staff informed CWSNC in 2019, that the Public Staff did not believe the project was prudent and suggested that individual home softening systems would be more cost-effective.
The Public Staff did offer an alternative approach that would enable CWSNC to proceed with installing a system-level solution. Under this approach, CWSNC would install the system-level water softening solution and the costs associated with the installation would be recovered by the Company through a rate surcharge applied solely to the Belvedere community (as opposed to being spread across all of CWSNC’s customers).
In order to proceed with this alternative approach, each homeowner in the Belvedere community would need to provide written consent to the surcharge, prior to a request to the NCUC to adopt a tariff that so required. The estimated surcharge at the time for each customer would have been approximately $18.00/month for 7 years, then reduced to approximately $5.00/month for the next 26 years.
The Belvedere Homeowners Association Board declined the option, stating that most homeowners have water softeners and filtration systems and would be opposed to the additional costs that would be directly billed to the Belvedere Plantation community.
Currently, CWSNC Regional Director, Dana Hill, is seeking new bids for the same water softening system to present to the community as an option for addressing water hardness. The surcharge will be estimated for 2021, and the timeframe for the asset depreciation would be similar to the above information. Once all bids are received, the community’s HOA Board will be contacted to see if there is any desire for the installation of the water softener system under these terms.
What projects have occurred in the last several years in the Belvedere Community?
The completed projects are listed below with the estimated costs:
Wells Number 1 (completed Summer 2019) and Number 2 (completed Fall 2018) had screen replacements and new gravel pack added to reduce sand/sediment being drawn into the system- $75,000 each
Two auto-flushers were installed in (Summer 2018) at $4,500 each
Replaced ground storage tank due to rust issues (May 2020)- $110,000
Several upgrades to SCADA (started in 2017 and completed in late 2020) that exceed $50,000
Why does my neighbor have a lower bill than mine?
Varying water and sewer use will impact what customer’s pay. In addition, several people in Belvedere have a septic system that was grandfathered into the system due to being in existence at the time of the takeover of the entire community by CWSNC. They do not pay the wastewater base rate or per-gallon usage charge. Customers that have both water and wastewater services pay a per-usage/gallon rate
Is it possible for me to switch over to a septic system from the wastewater system?
No, this is not possible due to the arrangements and contracts that preceded the original agreements for CWSNC to assume possession of the system.
Where does my water originate?
“When a water-bearing rock readily transmits water to wells and springs, it is called an aquifer. Wells can be drilled into the aquifers and water can be pumped out. Precipitation eventually adds water (recharge) into the porous rock of the aquifer. The rate of recharge is not the same for all aquifers, though, and that must be considered when pumping water from a well.”
Your well water comes from a local aquifer and is treated by CWSNC to state and federal requirements, to provide you safe, clean water.
What explains the red rings/stains that the residents say the water leaves on bathtubs and toilets?
Per the American Water Works Association, Serratia Marcescens is a pink residue that appears on bathroom fixtures in the shower, sink, and along the water line in the toilet bowl. It is a naturally occurring airborne bacteria that produces a pinkish film on surfaces that are regularly moist, including toilet bowls, showerheads, sink drains, and tiles. The bacteria survive there because the water sits for a period of time, with the chlorine dissipating as it stands. If you have an activated carbon filter on your water line, you are removing the chlorine and may be supporting the growth of the bacteria.
Why is my water brown or yellow? What is being done to correct the water coloration?
Typically, this is caused by sediment that is in the pipes to your community. As the water system is used, the sediment is disturbed and passes along the system into your home. An auto-flushing hydrant has been purchased for the cul-de-sac as well as increased scheduled line flushing to help address some of the sediment issues.
What may cause issues inside my home if the water at my outside spigot is clear?
If you have an in-home filtration system of water softener, the filters or other medium, such as salt for certain water softeners, must be changed per the recommended manufactures schedule. An old filter may produce a yellow or brown color inside the home.
Why does the water smell so strongly of chlorine?
Chlorine is used as a disinfectant for the water to ensure it is safe to use and drink. Our operations staff is required to monitor the amount of chlorine to ensure that the appropriate amount is being used in the system. Several factors can cause the chlorine smell to seem more noticeable such as which well is currently operating, weather (chlorine dissipates more quickly in warmer temperature), and usage.
What can I do to make my voice heard in the future for any rate cases?
All customers are encouraged to contact the North Carolina Utilities Commission public staff to voice their concerns or make statements regarding their service.
How can I keep up with my usage and bills?
CWSNC offers the My Utility Connect application online and through Apple and Google applications. To sign up for this service, which includes email, text, and phone notifications, sign up at this link. https://connect.myutility.us/connect/
How will I know if any rate changes occur?
CWSNC will send a letter to each customer as a bill insert if there is a change in the rate. Notification is required by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
Where can I find more information about CWSNC?
Information, including the current NCUC approved tariff and water quality reports may be found on our website at https://www.myutility.us/CarolinaWaterServiceNC
On our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaWaterNC
On the Belvedere Community WordPress page designed just for the community by CWSNC to keep you updated at https://carolinawaterservnc.wordpress.com/.
If at any time, a customer has a question concerning the current rates, their bill, or their service, they are encouraged to reach out to our Customer Experience team at the following:
Phone: (800) 525-7990
Fax: (866) 842-8348
Our staff maintains a Facebook page and monitors the inbox in the event you want to ask questions via this method.
*Customers with a grandfathered septic system do not pay a wastewater base rate or per gallon charge. This accounts for why some individuals in the community pay lower bills