by: Nate Stewart Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - North Carolina's Utilities Commission took public comment at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse about a rate increase for Aqua North Carolina customers Tuesday night.
Several local families told Eyewitness News Tuesday night they should not have to pay more for water they can't drink.
They protested a 19 percent hike, which comes out to about $10 more a month.
"That would raise the cost for us over $600 per year per place," said Stan Coleman.
Another customer, Nydia Morales, said, "We have no choice. We have to buy from them at any rate they want to charge us."
They said the rate hike is especially hard to swallow because they said they can't even drink their water.
Neighbors said the water problems are dragging their entire neighborhood down and the new rate makes it even worse.
Aqua North Carolina said it needs the money to help recover $8.6 million in operating costs.
That money will pay for previous investments like fuel, labor and electricity.
A decision will come from the state sometime next year.
An Eyewitness News investigation showed brown, murky water running out of taps at homes in Mint Hill.
Eyewitness News took customers' concerns about dirty water straight to the president of Aqua North Carolina and Tom Roberts admitted he would hesitate to drink the murky water but only because of the aesthetics.
Roberts insisted the water meets safety standards.
He blamed a filter malfunction for the brown color.
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