A proposed settlement between Citizens Energy Group and the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor would create an increase in residents’ water bills. If approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission next year, the average monthly residential water bill would increase by about $5.
In its initial water rate case filing in June, Citizens requested a 22 percent increase in its annual operating revenues while the OUCC recommended an 11.9 percent increase. As part of the settlement, Citizens will receive a nearly 16.1 percent increase.
The OUCC says fixed, monthly service charges for residential customers will not rise. Any additional revenues generated from residential bills would be collected through the usage-based portion of rates.
“We are pleased with the settlement in our water rate case,” said Jeffrey Harrison, President & CEO of Citizens Energy Group. “Both parties have worked very hard over the last couple of months to negotiate a settlement that puts customers first while keeping in mind the revenue needed in order to make necessary infrastructure improvements to our water utility.”
Also as part of the settlement, Citizens will establish a low-income crisis fund to assist low-income customers. Citizens will use revenue collected from cell phone tower leases to provide $100,000 to the crisis fund each year.
Citizens will also provide both the OUCC and IURC with regular reports on non-revenue water and change its language to provide a specific time frame for returning customer deposits.
The OUCC says the settlement will have no effect on Citizens’ sewer rates, which are being reviewed in a separate case.