UPDATE: The IURC issued a final order in this case on Jan. 16, 2008. A PDF copy of the 9-page order is available by clicking here.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews the request of the Town of Ogden Dunes for an increase in its water rates and charges.
The OUCC - the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) - has not yet taken a position on the town's request but currently anticipates completing its review and filing its report in this case on Tuesday, September 4. Consumers who wish to provide written comments on the case in the meantime may submit them to the OUCC's consumer services staff via mail, e-mail or fax.
Under the town's request, the quarterly water bill for an average residential customer using 15,000 gallons over a three-month period would increase from $60.08 to $76.91, including the local fire protection surcharge. The town indicates in its filings before the IURC that it is requesting the increase to pay for capital improvements and to cover increases in operating and maintenance costs. Current base water rates for Ogden Dunes were approved in 1985, with a wholesale water tracker in place since 1987.
Ogden Dunes has applied for the rate increase using 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.
An electronic copy of Ogden Dunes' filing in this case is available online and linked from the OUCC Website.
The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments in this case no later than Thursday, August 30. Comments should include the consumer's name, address, and a reference to "IURC Cause No. 43295-U," and can be submitted by mail, fax or the Internet:
- Mail: Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Fax: (317) 232-5923
- E-mail: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov
- OUCC Website: www.IN.gov/OUCC
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
Additional information on the regulatory process and other utility consumer topics - including tips for saving money on water and energy bills - is available on the OUCC Website or by calling the agency toll-free.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is the state agency that represents utility consumer interests in state and federal regulatory proceedings. To learn more, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC.
(IURC Cause No. 43295-U)
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