WJTV News Channel 12 - Hillsborough commission wants to take over two private utilities

Hillsborough commission wants to take over two private utilities

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Hillsborough County now wants to force a private utility company to sell two Hillsborough utilities.

That's because customers of Pluris American Infrastructure complain of cloudy, stinky water and high bills.

Bill Adum, who lives in Pebble Creek, near New Tampa, is tired of his water bill jumping up, down, and all around, no matter how much water he uses.

"They billed me for $26,000 gallons, and I've never in the past 24 years used over 18 or 19,000," Adum said. "And then the next month, it went to 9 and then it went to 7, and then it went to 36,000 gallons."

He says his water usage remains the same every month, but he has no idea how much his bill will be each month. When he complains, he says he's told, "We don't make mistakes."

But Hillsborough County officials are not amused. The board of commissioners voted in late December to not renew Pluris' contract to run the East Lake utility, near Tampa's Hard Rock Casino.The county has been negotiating with Pluris since then to buy the utility, but Pluris has not agreed to a price.

Now, the county wants to buy the Pebble Creek utility, too. So at Wednesday's board meeting, the commissioners will discuss the county's legal options to force sales.

Commissioner Sandra Murman says residents deserve better.

"They want good quality water," Murman said. "They want good service if they have problems with their water, and they don't want their rates to be exorbitant."

She finds some of the Pluris water samples she's seen, "disgusting."

"'No words can fit the description of the water people have lived with for so long. I mean, water is the most important thing we have."

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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