Interim rate increases for customers of Total Environmental Solutions Inc. went into effect today, Nov. 1.
The Public Service Commission last month approved temporary rate hikes for TESI while the company works to secure an even higher, permanent rate increase.
TESI, the largest private, for-profit operator of water and sewerage systems in Louisiana, says the rate hikes are necessary to fund equipment improvements and upgrades.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is requiring those upgrades as part of a consent decree. The decree has been in place since 2000. But EPA modified the decree earlier this year after logging more than 2,700 violations at TESI systems over the last five years.
TESI's filings with the PSC indicate the company would become financially insolvent if it were to perform the government-required upgrades without raising its customers' rates — in some cases doubling and tripling what customers pay for services they say have been substandard for years.
Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais, where some of his constituents use TESI systems, opposed the increases. Because of that, the PSC instructed TESI to come up with a rate reduction plan — instead of an increase — for its Broussard customers.