For immediate release: May 12, 2006
Posted by: [OUCC]
Contact: Anthony Swinger
Phone: 1-888-441-2494

Columbia City Municipal Water rate case - OUCC review

UPDATE: An IURC final order approving the settlement agreement between the OUCC and the City of Columbia City was issued on Oct. 11, 2006.

OUCC news release, issued May 12, 2006:

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is reviewing the City of Columbia City's proposal to increase its water rates and charges. The OUCC, the state agency representing consumer interests in all cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), has not yet taken a position on the city?s request but is currently scheduled to file testimony on Tuesday, July 11. Consumers who wish to provide written comments on the proposal may submit them to the OUCC's consumer services staff via mail, e-mail or fax.

The city is proposing a two-phase rate increase; if approved, the water bill for a residential customer who uses 5,000 gallons per month would increase from $16.39 to $20.64 in the first phase, then to a permanent rate of $21.29. In addition, the city is requesting IURC permission to issue up to $1.6 million in long-term debt. The utility indicates, in its testimony before the Commission, that it is seeking the changes to pay for capital improvements - including a new booster station and new valve stations - that will increase water pressure in areas north of US 30. Columbia City's current municipal water rates were approved in 1996.

An IURC evidentiary hearing is currently scheduled for Friday, July 28 in Indianapolis, at the Indiana Government Center - South. While evidentiary hearings are open to the public, participation is typically limited to attorney and Commission questioning of technical witnesses that have filed testimony on behalf of the proceeding's formal parties.

All hearing and filing dates are subject to change, and a settlement agreement is possible in any legal proceeding. While such a settlement would be subject to IURC approval, the OUCC attempts to reach a fair agreement for residential and business consumers in each IURC case.

A consumer who wishes to provide written comments in this case should do so by July 11 and include his or her name and address, along with a reference to "IURC Cause No. 42983." The OUCC accepts written consumer comments by mail, fax and the Internet:

Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494. In addition, the OUCC offers a number of free publications on utility consumer issues - including a summary of the state regulatory process and tips for reducing water and energy bills. All OUCC publications are available on the agency's Website or by calling the agency toll-free.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is the state agency that represents the interests of all utility consumers and the public in matters related to the provision of utility services. The agency is active in proceedings before regulatory and legal bodies, and committed to giving consumers a voice in the creation of utility service policy. Residential, commercial and industrial customers with questions or concerns regarding utility service can contact the OUCC toll-free at 1-888-441-2494 or online at

(IURC Cause No. 42983)

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