Hearings Set on Proposed Water Rate Hike

Posted: Updated:

Indiana American Water Co.'s proposed rate hike will be the topic of public meetings next month in Gary and Franklin. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor field hearings will examine the utility's plan to raise nearly $20 million for infrastructure modernization projects. March 17, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) continues to encourage Indiana American Water Company (IAWC) customers to comment on the utility's pending rate case. Customers may provide written comments to the OUCC, or speak at either of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's (IURC's) upcoming public field hearings.

The IURC field hearings are scheduled for:

-Tuesday, April 8, 2014 in Franklin, at the Franklin Community High School Performing Arts Center (2600 Cumberland Dr.), and

-Thursday, April 10, 2014 in Gary, in the Common Council Chambers at Gary City Hall (401 Broadway).

Public comments at both hearings will be accepted starting at 6:00 p.m. local time.

-Sworn oral and written comments regarding the rate case will be accepted during the field hearings.

-Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight and will become part of the case's official evidentiary record.

-Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearings. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after each hearing.)

The OUCC will conduct an informational session on the regulatory process before each hearing, at 5:30 p.m. local time.

IAWC provides service to approximately 290,000 customers throughout Indiana and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Voorhees, N.J.-based American Water, Inc. Proposed infrastructure improvements in IAWC's testimony 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.

For most IAWC residential customers using 5,000 gallons per month, the monthly water bill would rise from $37.35 to $39.75. This would apply throughout all of the utility's service territories with four exceptions:

-Most of IAWC's Northwest Indiana customers are billed every two months. The bi-monthly bill for 10,000 gallons in Northwest Indiana would rise from $67.81 to $79.48. This equates to a monthly increase from $33.90 to $39.74.

-In Mooresville and Winchester, the monthly water bill would increase from $33.62 to $36.39.

-In Wabash, the monthly bill would rise from $33.62 to $39.75 with the increase to be phased in over a three-year period.

-IAWC provides sewer utility service in the Muncie and Somerset areas. For those customers, the flat, monthly sewer rate would increase from $69.46 to $76.50.

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 OUCC - the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) – is reviewing the utility's request, has not yet taken a position in this case, and is scheduled to file testimony with the Commission on May 2, 2014.

The City of Crown Point, the Town of Schererville, Sullivan-Vigo Rural Water Corp., and a group of industrial customers (including United States Steel Corporation, Praxair, Inc., Chrysler Group, LLC, and Haynes International, Inc.) have intervened in this case and are also scheduled 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

Source: Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor