Unfortunately if the system can justify the need they can indeed raise the rates (at least in the states I am aware of). The harsh reality is that most systems have not been proactive with their maintenance and have only increased rates moderately every 4 to 5 years to cover inflation and an occasional expansion project. This has been compounded by the fact that grant moneys have only been available for expansion projects with new customers and not maintenance on the existing infrastructure. This seemingly good intention of not raising rates has now caught up with the water & sewer systems. They are having to replace large areas of 40-60 year old infrastructure at one time causing an overnight need to double rates. The best course of action is to get involved with your system. Attend meetings & run for the board if necessary. Make sure you have qualified managers and engineers overseeing the day to day operations. I also encourage people to reach out to their elected officials. Explain how federal funds should be open to repairing existing infrastructure and not new customers only. The legislators have listened and have finally released some funding for this this coming year (or at least that's what I'm hearing).