Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Now is chance to speak out on 17 percent water rate hike

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting written comments on Indiana American Water Company’s (IAWC’s) request for a rate increase, which in Northwest Indiana would spike average customers’ bills by more than 17 percent.

The OUCC--the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC)--is reviewing the utility’s request and has not yet taken a position in this case. The OUCC anticipates completing its review and filing testimony with the Commission on May 2, 2014.

IAWC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Voorhees, N.J.-based American Water Inc., provides service to approximately 290,000 customers throughout Indiana.

According to its testimony and exhibits, IAWC is seeking the rate increase for several reasons, including paying for numerous infrastructure improvements. The projects include replacement of aging mains, treatment plant projects, storage tank renovation, and other projects. The utility’s proposal would raise its total annual operating revenues by $19.6 million, an increase of approximately 9.8 percent.

For most IAWC residential customers using 5,000 gallons per month, the monthly water bill would rise from $37.35 to $39.75, an increase of 6.4 percent. This would apply throughout most of the utility’s service territories, except in Northwest, where customers are billed every two months. Here the bimonthly bill for 10,000 would increase from $67.81 to $79.48, or--on a monthly basis--from $33.90 to $39.74, a spike of 17.21 percent.

These numbers do not include fire protection surcharges.

IAWC’s current base rates were approved in June 2012. However, rates have since increased twice through the utility’s Distribution System Infrastructure Charge (DSIC), a rate adjustment mechanism (or tracker) which allows investor-owned water utilities to increase rates to pay for aging infrastructure subject to OUCC review and IURC approval. IAWC’s most recent DSIC increases were approved in December 2012 and December 2013.

The City of Crown Point has intervened in this case and is also expected to file testimony on May 2, 2014.

More information on this case, including the utility’s testimony, is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2654.htm

Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:

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

* E-mail: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov

* Fax: (317) 232-5923

Written comments the OUCC receives by April 25 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44450.”

Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at (888) 441-2494.

Public field hearings in IAWC’s service territory are anticipated with dates and locations to be determined.

 

 

Posted 1/12/2014