Water rates could rise for Blacklick Estates


By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Turning on the tap in Blacklick Estates could be costlier next year if a proposed Aqua Ohio rate increase request to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is approved.

“We’re facing a 3.97 percent increase,” said Madison Township Trustee John Pritchard during a May 1 presentation by Aqua Ohio consultant Jeff LaRue and David Dunn, area manager.

While the two utility representatives were there to introduce Dunn—who now oversees seven water and three wastewater systems in central and southeastern Ohio—to the community, discussion quickly turned to Aqua Ohio’s latest rate hike proposal filed last month.

In 2016, Aqua Ohio filed with the PUCO for a 9.2 percent increase for water for cost recovery associated with infrastructure improvements and was granted an increase in 2017. According to the PUCO, former Ohio American Water customers saw an average increase of 5.7 percent or $4.32.

“They (Aqua Ohio) continually request rate increases and at some point in time, it’s got to stop,” said Blacklick Estates resident Gary McDonald. “They keep coming back every two years.”

LaRue said the company has invested $2.25 million in water and wastewater improvements in the Blacklick Estates area and plans to invest another $950,000 this year in replacing service lines, etc.

“The average bill in Blacklick Estates is $70 to $80,” said LaRue, “but that’s not to say other bills are higher.”

Area Blockwatch coordinator Reese Kenney disputed LaRue’s figures saying bills are much higher.

“There are homes in the area where people are paying several hundreds of dollars a month,” said Kenney. “We are going to fight this increase. The Blockwatch is planning on doing whatever we can to make sure this increase will not happen. We are going to try to involve customers in other areas around the state because this doesn’t impact just Blacklick Estates.”

When Pritchard compared Columbus water, which he alleged cost 40 percent less than Aqua Ohio, with what residents are receiving in the development, Dunn said Aqua Ohio provides better water.

“But is your water worth 40 percent more?” asked Pritchard. “To me, I believe government is less effective than the private sector, but I believe it is not the case here.”

LaRue said the 40 percent difference is what Columbus charges customers living within its limits and is not the same charge for customers outside of corporation limits.

“What is your motivation?” asked Pritchard. “How do we know you’re not boosting profits to get another 4 percent out of the PUCO?”

Pritchard also questioned why, if there is an increase in system efficiency and a reduction in taxes paid by Aqua Ohio, is there a need to not only keep bills at the present rate, but also ask for an increase.

LaRue assured Pritchard the company is not boosting profits by artificially accelerating improvements and seeking rate hikes. He said the tax reduction process takes time because it has to go through Ohio’s general assembly.

Dunn said, after the PUCO reviews and acts on legislative action, the company expects a tax reduction will nullify the upcoming service improvement charge.

The PUCO will conduct public hearings later this year on Aqua Ohio’s rate request.

Previous articleMusic maker
Next articleIllustrators headline benefit for Sufficient Grace


  1. Our water bill is my highest bill compared to electric and gas. This rate increase is for profits and the company is lying to the public. Our water quality is not as good as Columbus water is. So the PUCO needs to decline this rate hike. Aqua should not have a monopoly on water for certain areas. We should as consumers have a choice to whom we want to service our area.

  2. I just moved to the Blacklick Estates area from Canal Winchester. The rates for Blacklick Estates are nearly double what I was paying, and the water tastes foul, is cloudy and frankly a lower quality of water than anyplace I have lived in the state of Ohio.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.