The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has approved an agreement allowing Indianapolis-based Citizens Energy Group to raise wastewater rates. The utility says the rate hike will fund federally-mandated system improvements.
Beginning next month, residential customers will see an average wastewater bill increase of $8.50 per month in 2016 and $2.50 per month in 2017. Citizens originally requested an increase of about $87 million in annual operating revenues, however the agreement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and industrial customers calls for $61.3 million increase.
"We know rate increases have a significant impact on household budgets, that’s why we always implement process improvements to control costs and enhance customer service," said Jeffrey Harrison, chief executive officer of Citizens. "Rate increases are necessary to fund improvements to our city’s century-old sewer system—a system that currently overflows five billion gallons of raw sewage into area waterways each year."
The rate hike will fund projects, including the DigIndy Tunnel System, which is currently underway and will prevent up to 99 percent of sewer overflows from reaching area waterways when it is complete in 2025, according to the utility. It will also fund the Septic Tank Elimination Program and the expansion of the Southport Sewage Treatment Plant