- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina’s highest court has upheld a decision by regulators allowing the state’s largest private water utility to raise customer rates through an abbreviated process the General Assembly recently created for water and sewer improvements.

The state Supreme Court ruling’s Friday affirmed last year’s decision by the Utilities Commission involving Aqua North Carolina and rejected appeals of Attorney General Roy Cooper to make the utility complete the full rate-case process.

Cooper’s office argued the commission’s ruling failed to provide enough evidence that allowing the alternate mechanism for Aqua was in the public interest and encouraged Aqua to make water quality investments.

In the court’s opinion, Justice Barbara Jackson wrote regulators took “meaningful steps” to ensure water-quality problems are addressed and customer charges are levied after service improvements are made.

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