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Growth of large private water companies brings higher water rates, little recourse for consumers

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 12/24/11

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When Robert White opened his water bill last month, his jaw dropped: $250 for a month's worth of water and sewer service. The 63-year-old construction contractor, who shares a three-bedroom home with his wife in the bucolic Springbrook Centre subdivision, said he likes to keep his lawn green and expects hefty water bills. "I just don't want to be hijacked," he said.

White's water service is provided by a private utility owned by California-based SouthWest Water Co. LLC. Just across the four-lane Pflugerville Parkway, where White's neighbors in the Springbrook Glen subdivision -- a nearly identical grid of neatly arranged brick-faced homes -- get their water from Pflugerville, rates are on average about 60 percent less.

White's bill for water service may nearly double soon, if SouthWest Water gets the latest rate increase it has requested. "I have never felt so helpless," he said.

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At www.statesman.com

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