NEW SHARON — After customers of the New Sharon Water District twice filed petitions opposing a rate increase, the Maine Public Utilities Commission will decide whether to approve it.

“We don’t know where it stands,” Mercy Hanson, treasurer for the district, said Thursday. “We’re in limbo. We’ll have to wait and see.”

It could take up to three months for the PUC to gather the necessary information. A teleconference with PUC to start the process is planned for Friday, Jan.29, she said.

Last fall, the district requested an increase of about 42 percent — from $25.49 a month to $36.17 a month.

No customers attended a public hearing on the issue, Hanson said. However, 10 percent of the district’s 92 customers signed a petition requesting a PUC review and audit, she said.

On Dec. 9, the water district filed for a lower increase of 20 percent — from $25.49 a month to a minimum $32.03 a month, she said. Rates for higher usage would also increase.


Again, customers petitioned against the increase, Hanson said.

The rate for the small water district leaves little funding to cover maintenance and upgrades for an aging system, Forrest Bonney, chairman of the board of trustees, said last fall. The district cannot set aside funds for any contingencies such as water leak repairs, he said.

Bonney reported a 19 percent increase in water usage from 1992 to 2014 in the last town report. There are some leaks that trustees cannot pin down, he said.

Some customer meters are also not working and should be replaced. If a meter is not working, the customer is charged at the minimum rate, regardless of the amount of water used.

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