For immediate release: Oct 17, 2007
Posted by: [OUCC]
Contact: Anthony Swinger
Phone: (317) 233-2747

Hammond and Munster sewer rate case: State utility consumer advocate accepting public comments

UPDATE: An IURC order in this case was issued on Jan. 4, 2008. A PDF copy of the Commission's 7-page order is available by clicking here.

OUCC NEWS RELEASE:

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews the Sanitary District of Hammond's request for an increase in its sewer utility 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 district's request but is currently scheduled to complete its review and file testimony in this case on Tuesday, November 13. 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.

The Sanitary District of Hammond is a political subdivision providing wastewater disposal service in Hammond and Munster. If the utility's request in this case were granted, a sewer bill for a residential or commercial customer who uses 10,000 gallons of water over a two-month period would increase from $23.68 to $26.75. Under the proposal, the district's bi-monthly customer charge and volumetric flow charges would be established at the same levels for residential, commercial and industrial customers.

The district advises in its written testimony that its current sewage disposal rates have been in place since 1994 and that it is seeking the increase to cover higher operating and maintenance costs.

Rates for sewage disposal service are the only rates and charges at issue in this proceeding. Since this case was filed, the district also requested IURC approval of new rates for solid waste and garbage pickup service for Hammond customers. The OUCC opposed the motion and the IURC denied it on the grounds that garbage pickup is beyond the scope of the Commission's statutory authority.

This case's public file is available for review on the IURC Website (www.in.gov/iurc), by visiting http://www.in.gov/iurc/portal/Tab.aspx?tabid=28&dn=SEARCHDOCKETEDCASE and entering docket number 43307.

The Town of Munster has filed a petition to formally intervene in this case through legal counsel; its request is pending before the IURC.

An IURC public field hearing in this case is scheduled for Tuesday, October 30 at 6:00 p.m. local time, at Wilbur Wright Middle School, 8650 Columbia Ave. in Munster. An OUCC informational meeting will precede the field hearing at 5:30 p.m.

The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments in this case no later than Friday, November 9. Comments should include the consumer's name, address, and a reference to "IURC Cause No. 43307," and can be submitted by mail, fax or the Internet:

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 a guide to understanding sewer rates - is available on the OUCC Website or by calling the agency toll-free.

(IURC Cause No. 43307)

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is the state agency that represents residential and business consumer interests in cases before state and federal utility regulatory commissions. To learn more, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC.

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