updated: 8/26/2011 7:46:05 AM
The city of Indianapolis has completed the $1.9 billion transfer of its water and wastewater utilities to public charitable trust Citizens Energy Group. Citizens will take over for Veolia Water Indianapolis, and the city says nearly all former Veolia employees are now working for Citizens.
August 26, 2011
Indianapolis, Ind. – Citizens Energy Group and the City of Indianapolis today completed a $1.9 billion transfer of the community’s water and wastewater utilities to Citizens, a public charitable trust that operates like a not-for-profit.
The water and wastewater systems, which bill customers under the Indianapolis Water name, are now being operated as Citizens Water.
“Today marks a great day for our community,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. “This historic transfer will make Indianapolis a better place to live and do business by making our rivers and streams cleaner, bringing more consistency to these vital utilities, and saving utility customers money through rates that will be lower than they otherwise would have been. This transfer will benefit our community for generations.”
In March 2010, Mayor Ballard and Citizens announced the plan to transfer the systems to Citizens. The transfer is expected to result in $60 million in annual savings that will help Citizens reduce projected water and wastewater rate increases 25 percent by the year 2025. The City will receive $425 million from the transfer to fund its Rebuild Indy initiative that is making much needed repairs to parks, bridges, streets, and sidewalks, while removing hundreds of abandoned homes throughout the city.
Carey Lykins, President & CEO of Citizens Energy Group, welcomed water and wastewater customers to the Citizens family of companies. “Citizens employees are so excited about this wonderful opportunity to expand on the purpose of the public charitable trust to add value and improve the quality of life in our community.
Citizens Water is committed to providing safe, high quality water to the people of Central Indiana as we make important investments to ensure system reliability and cleaner area rivers and streams,” Lykins said.
Citizens Water will assume responsibility for the Long Term Control Plan, which is mandated under a Consent Decree with the U.S. EPA to minimize combined sewer overflows into the White River and other area streams. The plan calls for completion of a $3.5 billion Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project by the year 2025. Remaining CSO construction costs are estimated at $1.7 billion.
Citizens Water also will continue the City’s Septic Tank Elimination Program (STEP), which is bringing sewer service to areas of Marion County, where failing septic tanks are jeopardizing public health and the environment. Citizens will complete the City’s current STEP schedule with about 7,000 septic tank replacements through 2013.
Citizens Water assumes operations of the water utility from Veolia Water Indianapolis (Veolia), and nearly all former Veolia employees are now Citizens employees. Citizens Water has assumed the City’s contract with United Water to operate the wastewater system. Thanks to months of planning and outstanding cooperation from Veolia and United Water, customers can expect a smooth transition as the utility gradually implements various service enhancements and efficiencies.
Utility Transfer Completed, continued
Customers will continue to call the following numbers until the utility’s call centers can be combined. Customers with a current Indianapolis Water bill should pay that bill. Their next bill will read Citizens Water.
• Citizens Water -- For water, sewer and flooding/drainage issues call: 631-1431. Due to the switch over of computer systems, the Citizens Water Call Center will only be accepting emergency calls today and tomorrow. Full call center operations will resume by noon on Monday, Aug. 29.
• Citizens Gas – For natural gas service issues call: 924-3311.
The Indianapolis Water website (www.indianapoliswater.com) has been replaced with the new Citizens Water site: www.CitizensWater.com.
Future service enhancements planned by Citizens include:
• Improved bill estimation and meter reading – Citizens will implement a new bill estimation procedure that better reflects actual consumption. There will be occasions during which Citizens will estimate water bills due to heavy snow making underground water meters inaccessible. Citizens expects to implement monthly meter reading for all customers within 12-18 months.
• Combined billing – In 12-18 months, Citizens plans to implement a combined gas, water and sewer bill for Marion County customers. Providing a combined bill will not only be more convenient for most customers, it also will save the utility, and ultimately the customer base, about $1 million per year.
• Improved website functionality – Water customers will be provided improved website functionality including seamless electronic bill payment for gas, water and sewer service.
More information about the utility transfer is available at www.indy.gov/utilities or www.CitizensEnergyGroup.com.
About Citizens Energy Group
Citizens Energy Group is a Public Charitable Trust providing safe and reliable utility services to more than 266,000 customers in the Indianapolis area. The Public Charitable Trust means the utility is managed only for the benefit of customers and the community. Additional information is available online at www.CitizensEnergyGroup.com
Source: Citizens Energy Group