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[OUCC] Citizens Water & Sewer Rate Cases: Public Hearing May 16
Start Date: 5/6/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/6/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

Citizens Water & Sewer Rate Cases: Public Hearing May 16
Written consumer comments also requested

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is encouraging Citizens Energy Group customers to comment on the utility’s pending water and sewer rate cases, either at the cases’ upcoming public field hearing or through written comments.

An Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) public field hearing will be held on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the PNC Center/Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Indianapolis (101 West Washington St., Suite 222). The hearing’s public comment portion will start at 6:00 p.m.

  • Sworn oral and written comments regarding the rate cases will be accepted during the field hearing.
  • Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight and will become part of the official evidentiary record.
  • Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after the hearing.)

An OUCC informational session on the regulatory process and public field hearing procedures will begin at 5:30 p.m.

In IURC Cause No. 44305, Citizens Energy Group is requesting a two-phase wastewater rate increase for approximately 220,000 customers in Marion County.

In its testimony, the utility says it is requesting the increase to pay for infrastructure improvements, many of which are required under a federal consent decree. The projects include wastewater treatment plant expansions, construction of underground tunnels to collect excess raw sewage, and the utility’s ongoing septic tank elimination program.

The utility’s request, if approved, would increase its overall annual operating revenues for wastewater disposal service from approximately $179 million to $235.7 million in two phases, resulting in an increase of about 31.7 percent. Specific rate impacts will vary among customer classes. For a residential customer using 5,000 gallons of water per month, sewer charges would immediately rise from $28.34 to $38.69 upon issuance of an IURC order. The charges would then rise to $42.56 when the utility’s planned financing takes effect, most likely in late 2014.

Current sewer rates for Indianapolis were approved by the City-County Council in 2009. An agreement to transfer the utility’s assets to Citizens, which the IURC approved in 2011, included allowing increases for 2011, 2012 and 2013 that had been approved by the City-County Council. Under the 2011 agreement, the IURC now has sole jurisdiction over the wastewater utility’s rates and charges.

In IURC Cause No. 44306, Citizens is requesting awater rate increase for approximately 300,000 customers it serves in Marion County and surrounding counties.

According to its testimony, Citizens says it is seeking the increase to pay for line extensions and replacements throughout its water distribution system, and for increases in operating and maintenance costs. The proposal would increase overall annual operating revenues for the water utility from approximately $172.1 million to $197.4 million in one phase, equating to an increase of 14.7 percent. Specific rate impact will vary by customer class. For a residential customer using 700 cubic feet of water per month, monthly water charges would rise from $28.66 to $31.01.

The current water rates for Indianapolis received IURC approval in 2011.

The OUCC – which represents consumer interests in cases before the IURC – is scheduled to file testimony on June 19, 2013 in the water rate case and on August 23, 2013 in the sewer rate case.

Additional parties that have intervened in these cases are scheduled to file testimony on the same dates as the OUCC. A group of industrial customers has intervened in both cases. The Town of Pittsboro has intervened in the water rate case, as has the Indianapolis Water Service Advisory Board (whose members include municipal governments outside Marion County that are in Citizens Water’s service territory).

More information on these cases is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2738.htm.

Consumers who wish to submit written comments 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
  • emailuccinfo@oucc.IN.gov
  • Fax: (317) 232-5923

Written comments the OUCC receives by the close of business on June 12, 2013 will be filed with the Commission and included in the cases’ formal evidentiary records. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause Nos. 44305/44306.”

Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494. Consumers may also call with questions about directions and parking information for the public field hearing, or visit the OUCC’s website at www.IN.gov/OUCC.

Natural gas rates and charges are not at issue in these cases.

# # #

(IURC Cause Nos. 44305, 44306)

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.

Visit us at www.IN.gov/OUCC, www.twitter.com/IndianaOUCC, or www.facebook.com/IndianaOUCC.

Contact Information:
Name: Anthony Swinger
Phone: 1-888-441-2494
Email: uccinfo@oucc.in.gov
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