Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Hearing November 26 in Gary on water company's proposed 16 percent rate hike

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting customers of Indiana American Water Company (IAWC) to attend a public field hearing of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to comment on IAWC’s proposed 16-percent rate increase.

The field hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, in the Gary City Hall Common Council Chambers, 401 Broadway in Gary.

* Consumers will be able to speak directly to the IURC, under oath and on the record, regarding the case.

* Consumers will also be able to submit written comments for the case record.

* Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. However, OUCC staff will be available before, during, and after each hearing to address questions about the process.

Or folks may forward their comments to the OUCC directly:

* Via the OUCC’s website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm

* By e-mail at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov

* Or by USPS: Consumer Services Staff, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204

The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments no later than Dec. 14, so that it can consider them in preparing its testimony and file them with the IURC to be included in the case’s formal evidentiary record.

Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 45142.” Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at (888) 441-2494. Please do not include account numbers or other sensitive information.

The OUCC, the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the IURC, is using its legal and technical resources to review IAWC’s request and is scheduled to file testimony on Dec. 21.

An IURC order is expected during the first half of 2019.

Proposed Rate Increase

IAWC’s proposal would raise rates in two phases, increasing its total annual operating revenues by $38.8 million. For most residential customers using 5,000 gallons per month, the monthly bill would rise from $43.70 to $46.81 in July 2019; and then to $50.34 in July 2020.

These amounts include fire protection surcharges.

Within the rates, IAWC’s proposal would raise the flat monthly residential customer charge from $14.23 to $20.17 in 2019; and then to $22.35 in 2020.

“IAWC, which provides service to approximately 302,000 customers in more than 50 Indiana communities, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Voorhees, New Jersey-based American Water Inc.,” the OUCC said. “In its testimony and exhibits, IAWC attributes the requested rate increase to numerous infrastructure investments, including the replacement of aging water distribution lines throughout its service territories.”

“Current base rates for IAWC received IURC approval in January 2015,” the OUCC noted. “However, rates have increased three times since then through the utility’s Distribution System Infrastructure Charge (DSIC), a rate tracker (or adjustment mechanism) that allows investor-owned water utilities to increase rates to pay for aging infrastructure subject to OUCC review and IURC approval within extremely short timeframes. IAWC’s most recent DSIC increases were approved in May 2016, March 2017, and March 2018. In October 2018, IAWC’s rates were reduced due to federal tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.”

 

 

Posted 10/25/2018

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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