of Indiana-American Water Company (IAWC)--whose average bills could increase
by more than 17 percent per month under a rate case pending before the
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC)--are being urged to comment at
a public field meeting at 6 p.m. April 10, in the Gary Common Council
Chambers, 401 Broadway.
An earlier public
field meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at the Franklin
Community High School Performing Arts Center, 2600 Cumberland Drive.
The IURC will
accept both sworn oral and written comments at the field hearings and such
will become part of the case’s official evidentiary record, the Indiana
Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) said.
commissioners are not allowed to answer questions at the field hearings,
OUCC and IURC staff will be on hand before, during, and after each hearing.
Each hearing will
also be preceded, at 5:30 p.m. local time, by an information session
conducted by the OUCC on the regulatory process.
IAWC, a subsidiary
of Voorheese, N.J.-based American Water Inc., provides water service to
290,000 customers throughout Indiana. In its petition IAWC is seeking to
increase its annual operating revenues by $19.6 million.
infrastructure improvements in IAWC’s testimony include replacement of aging
mains, treatment plant projects, storage tank renovation, and other
projects,” the OUCC said.
Although most of
residential customers would see a 6.4-percent increase in the average
monthly bill--from $37.35 to $39.75--the company’s
Northwest Indiana customers would see a much higher spike: 17.2 percent,
from $33.90 to $39.74.
Northwest Indiana customers are billed every two months, under this petition
the average bimonthly bill would increase from $67.81 to $79.48.
These numbers do
not include fire protection surcharges, the OUCC said.
base rates were approved in June 2012,” the OUCC said. “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 OUCC, which
represents consumer interests in cases before the IURC, is still reviewing
IAWC’s petition and has not yet taken a position in the case. It is
scheduled to file testimony with the IURC on May 2.
The City of Crown
Point, the Town of Schererville, Sullivan-Vigo Rural Water Corporation, and
a group of industrial customers (including U.S. Steel, Praxair Inc.,
Chrysler Group LLC, and Haynes International Inc.) have intervened in this
case and are also scheduled to file testimony on May 2.
More information on
this case, including the utility’s testimony, is available online at
Consumers who wish
to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at
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
received by the OUCC receives by April 25 will be filed with the IURC 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.
questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer
services staff toll-free at (888) 441-2494.