Flushed with anger, residents confront water utility over high bills

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EAST ROCKAWAY -

Customers of New York American Water who say they're tired of paying higher water bills packed a public hearing in East Rockaway Thursday evening to demand utility officials explain the hikes.

Many complained that though they're using less water, they're seeing bills grow more expensive.

New York American Water has received nearly 700 complaints in recent weeks. 

The company told gathered customers that the conservation rate approved in 2017 appeared to be the primary cause for the increases. And it says it notified customers about the new rate in bill inserts and news releases.

But angry customers and local lawmakers blasted the company's officials anyway.

"This is ridiculous," said state Sen. John Brooks. "People are getting shocked with prices. We need transparency."

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says he and his colleagues plan to take action.

"The fact that we heard tonight that the company is relying on a bill insert from 2017 to justify rate changes today -- that people had no idea about -- is not fair," he says. "We're going to ask that the rate be rolled back and that the residents get some relief."

New York American Water is facing scrutiny from both the county and the state.

Nassau's district attorney and the state comptroller are both reviewing complaints about the company's bills.

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