Starting Thursday, United Water Toms River customers in Toms River, South Toms River and Berkeley Township can expect to see bills that total about five dollars more than before.

Townsquare Media NJ

The company received approval for a rate increase of about 12 percent from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. It's roughly half of the hike they requested in autumn 2012.

Operations Director Jim Mastrokalos reiterated the company's assertion that the increase is necessary to cover the cost of extensive infrastructure upgrades totalling $18,000,000 in the past three years. It includes "water main replacements, new facility improvements, and customer service and billing systems," he says.

United Water was granted a 19 percent increase in 2010, before the new maintenance schedule began. It added a little over $6.00 to an average bill. Company officials break out the new increase to about 15 cents a day.

Can we expect more rate increases soon? Probably not, says Mastrokalos, but it depends on circumstances. "We don't anticipate any rate filings in the immediate future," he explains, "the financial environment continually changes, and we'll make that assessment."

Meanwhile, says Mastrokalos, "United Water is going to continue on with its prudent investment...to strengthen its infrastructure."