UPDATE: An IURC order in this case, approving a settlement agreement between the OUCC and the City of Anderson, was issued on Dec. 20, 2006.
OUCC News Release, issued Aug. 3, 2006:
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews the City of Anderson's request for an increase in its municipal water utility's 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 complete its review and file testimony in the case on Tuesday, September 21. Consumers who wish to provide written comments on the proposal in the meantime may submit them to the OUCC's consumer services staff via mail, e-mail or fax.
For an average residential customer using 700 cubic feet of water per month (approximately 5,000 gallons), the city's proposal would increase the monthly bill from $14.15 to $20.00. The city is also seeking authority to issue up to $5.29 million in bonds. In testimony filed with the IURC, the city indicates it is seeking the changes to cover increased operating and maintenance costs, and also to pay for capital improvements - including well field rehabilitation, hydrant and meter replacements, and improvements to treatment plants, storage tanks and mains. Anderson's current water rates were approved in 1994.
"Written consumer comments are important to our review process," said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Susan L. Macey, noting that Indiana law designates the OUCC as a formal party to all IURC cases. "While our legal and technical case teams closely review every proposal before the IURC, consumer comments frequently help us in understanding issues at the local level."
Interested consumers can review a copy of the utility's petition and testimony at the Anderson Public Library, 111 E. 12th St., Anderson, Indiana.
The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments in this case no later than Monday, September 20. Comments should include the consumer's name and address - along with a reference to "IURC Cause No. 42914" - and can be sent by mail, fax or the Internet:
- Mail: Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
100 N. Senate Ave., Room N501
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2215
- 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.
"All written comments we receive before our filing deadline will be reviewed by our consumer services staff, along with our attorneys and the accountants, economists and engineers in our Water/Wastewater Division," said Macey. "While we want to hear consumers' thoughts about this and other pending proposals, we also want people to know that our agency offers a wide range of free publications on utility service issues - including a guide to the regulatory process, tips for speaking out effectively on pending cases, and advice for saving money on water and energy bills. All of our publications are available on our Website or by calling us toll-free."
An IURC evidentiary hearing in this case is currently scheduled for Monday, October 30 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.
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 consumers in each IURC case.
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. 42914)
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