There could be another cost to your already stretched budget.

United Water Toms River Tower (United Water Toms River)

United Water Toms River has filed with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) to request a recovery of approximately 18 million in improvements the company made in the last three years-resulting in rate hike of $9.39 for most customers.

The company, which provides water service to about 120,000 people in Toms River, South Toms River, and parts of Berkley Township, is asking for the rate relief to offset costs from what they say are capital investments, rising insurance costs, and other rising expenses.

"It's never a good time to raise rates but we are regulated by the BPU and we are trying to recoup our investments to ensure water quality that meets or exceeds the state regulations." Says Rick Pfleiderer, director of operations for United Water Toms River.

According to Pfleiderer the company has invested nearly $5.6 million in new water transmission mains, replacing older mains and installing new mains. In a statement United Water Toms River also notes the company invested $2.7 million to improve the process at its Berkley Water Treatment Plant, which eliminates radionuclide's from the drinking waters.  In addition improvements were made to the Holly Treatment plant and to one of its Aquifer Storage and Recovery Wells.

The company also announced the installation of a new customer information computer system last fall. The $3.5 million investment is touted by United Water to "tie together every aspect of customer information, which improves communications by automatically generating such things as payment reminders and service alerts to customers."

Whether the increase goes through is in the hands of the BPU, with discussion going back and forth for roughly six to nine months, after which a settlement should be reached.