Water Services Acquisition Hits 2 Year MarkPosted: Updated:
Citizens Energy Group is touting what it believes to be key accomplishments two years after acquiring water and wastewater utilities from the city of Indianapolis. The group says it has invested nearly $510 million in the wastewater system, preventing two billion gallons of raw sewage per year from seeping into rivers and streams. Citizens also says it has pumped $95 million into water system improvements. August 26, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS – Imagine 3,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools – that’s the amount of polluted water that has been kept out of area rivers and streams each year, thanks to recent investments by Citizens Energy Group. This is among many accomplishments Citizens has achieved two years after acquiring the Indianapolis water and wastewater utilities.
“When we acquired the water and wastewater utilities in 2011, we promised better customer service and system investments to improve reliability and protect the environment. As we enhance customer service, we have invested $508 million in our wastewater system to prevent 2 billion gallons per year of raw sewage from polluting our rivers and streams, and have spent $95 million on the water system to improve reliability and water safety,” said Carey Lykins, President & CEO of Citizens Energy Group.
Citizens has made the following progress on commitments related to the utility transfer:
-Cleaner Rivers and Streams – Expanded treatment plants are preventing 2 billion gallons of raw sewage from polluting area waterways. The DigIndy Project, a 25-mile network of deep rock tunnels, will nearly eliminate sewer overflows by 2025. The Deep Rock Tunnel Connector, the first leg of DigIndy that is required under a federal consent decree, is a year ahead of schedule and well below budget.
-Protecting Public Health – The Septic Tank Elimination Program (STEP) is continuing to expand the sewer system to neighborhoods where failing septic tanks are endangering public health and the environment. Nearly 8,000 homes have been added to the sewer system over the past two years.
-Improved Water System – Fewer water main breaks, better system flow and improved water storage have been achieved thanks to $95 million in water system investments.
-Improved Customer Service – Most customers now have the convenience of a combined gas, water and wastewater bill. Bills are now based on monthly meter reads, rather than estimates customers disliked. 97 percent of meters are now being read monthly. All customers now have new payment options, such as budget billing and direct deposit. Recognizing that many customers struggle to pay their utility bills, Citizens has significantly expanded financial assistance on the combined bill.
-Acquisition Savings – Citizens projects it will save nearly $150 million by the end of this year through the utility combination. Citizens initially projected it would save about $60 million after three years operating the combined utilities.
-Supplier Diversity Progress – The utility is on track to soon meet or exceed supplier diversity goals of 15%, 8% and 3% of addressable spending with minority, women and veteran owned enterprises. In 2012, Citizens achieved $109 million of spending with diverse suppliers.
“Two years ago, we acquired two very troubled utilities that had suffered from years of under investment and mounting debt. We have made tremendous progress toward updating both systems, while improving customer service and far exceeding our original savings goal,” said Lykins. “Nearly $4 billion in investments are necessary on both systems over the next 12 years. While we realize increasing rates to pay for these improvements will be unpopular, we know these investments will provide enormous benefits to the quality of life and economy of Central Indiana,” said Lykins.
About Citizens Energy Group
Citizens Energy Group is a Public Charitable Trust providing safe and reliable utility services to about 400,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Indianapolis area. The Public Charitable Trust means its utilities are managed only for the benefit of customers and the community. Additional information is available online at www.CitizensEnergyGroup.com - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeSource: Citizens Energy Group.