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[OUCC] Columbia City water rate case: State utility consumer advocate accepting public comments
Start Date: 1/23/2012
End Date: 1/23/2012
Entry Description

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews the Columbia City Municipal Water Utility’s request to increase its rates and charges.

The OUCC – the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) – is reviewing the utility’s request and has not yet taken a position in this case. The OUCC is scheduled to complete its review and file its report with the Commission on April 5.

Columbia City’s pending proposal would increase a monthly residential water bill for 5,000 gallons from $23.70 to $34.24. The city, whose current water rates were approved in 2006, is also proposing to issue up to $2 million in long-term debt. According to its filing, the utility is seeking the base rate changes due to increases in operating and maintenance costs, along with capital improvements.

While the city’s water rates are at issue in this case, state law does not give the IURC jurisdiction over municipal sewer rates.

Columbia City is seeking the rate increase through the state’s Small Utility Filing Procedure, which is available to utilities with fewer than 5,000 customers and is designed to reduce the time and expense involved with regulatory filings. Savings are gained by allowing utility staff to use standardized forms and the utility’s resulting need for less assistance from rate consultants or attorneys.

The standard for OUCC and IURC reviews on small utility filings is the same that applies to traditional utility filings. The OUCC conducts its review on behalf of consumers while the IURC’s review is conducted on behalf of the public interest (a balancing of utility and customer interests). A settlement agreement is possible in any legal proceeding; such an agreement would require IURC approval. The OUCC attempts to reach a fair agreement for ratepayers in each IURC case.

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
  • Fax: (317) 232-5923
  • email: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov

Written comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to "IURC Cause No. 44127-U." The OUCC needs to receive consumer comments by March 30 to include them with its report.

Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494. For additional information on this case, including a copy of the utility’s filing, please visit the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2688.htm.

The OUCC’s Website also offers a number of utility consumer publications at no charge, including tips for saving water and energy.

 

(IURC Cause No. 44127-U)

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving. To learn more, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC.


Location Information:
Whitley County
Contact Information:
Name: Anthony Swinger
Phone: 1-888-441-2494
Email: uccinfo@oucc.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Utility Consumer Counselor, Indiana Office of

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