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ORLANDO-In a rare occurrence, a metro Orlando developer is suing a utility company for allegedly overcharging water and wastewater service fees on a subdivision development to the tune of $250,000. The suit, filed in neighboring Lake County Circuit Court by Worthwhile Development II Ltd. of suburban Longwood, FL, alleges Southlake Utilities Inc. of Clermont, FL fraudulently added the charges over normal connection and hookup fees, violating state racketeering laws.

The utility denies the allegation and says the $250,000 assessment was for plant capacity charges that every new development pays. Southlake Utilities maintains the additional fee is legal according to the Florida Public Service Commission, which regulates state-based utilities. The state is investigating the allegations and is scheduling a public hearing for April.

If the state agency rules for the developer, the utilities firm says it will refund the $250,000.

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