State utility consumer advocate encourages input; Public meeting & hearing scheduled for Oct. 4
Proposed changes to Indiana utility regulations would modify deposit and service disconnection rules for natural gas companies and their customers. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is encouraging consumers to be aware of the proposed rule changes and is inviting written consumer comments.
The seven-page proposed rule (Rulemaking No. 05-03) was issued by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on Aug. 10 and is available on the IURC Website at www.IN.gov/iurc/rules/rules_index.html. Consumers without Internet access may also request copies from the OUCC or the IURC, or access the Internet at local public libraries. The OUCC - the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the IURC - has not yet taken a position on the proposed rule changes but will file comments at a date to be determined.
Two public events regarding the proposed rule changes are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4 in Indianapolis, in Conference Room 32 at the Indiana Government Center - South:
- At 9:30 a.m., the OUCC will conduct a consumer information meeting to explain the utility regulatory process, describe public hearing procedures and answer consumer questions.
- At 10:00 a.m. - immediately following the OUCC information meeting - the IURC will conduct a formal public hearing. A schedule for the filing of written comments from any interested party will be determined at the hearing, while oral testimony on the proposed changes will also be accepted.
At the Oct. 4 hearing, the OUCC will introduce transcripts into the case record from the two public hearings that were held in Rulemaking No. 04-02 - at Indianapolis on Sept. 22, 2004 and at South Bend on Dec. 1, 2004. While RM 04-02 - which sought comprehensive changes in rules for natural gas, electric, telecommunications, water and sewer utilities - was withdrawn earlier this year, the inclusion of transcripts from its public hearings in the new rulemaking record will ensure that all public comments regarding natural gas service that were provided at last year's hearings will be considered in the current proceeding.
Consumers who wish to comment on the rulemaking proceeding but are unable to attend the Oct. 4 hearing are encouraged to send written comments to the OUCC, which will review them as it develops its formal position and prepares its recommendations. Comments received before the OUCC's filing deadline will be submitted along with the agency's recommendations to the IURC, so that those comments will become part of the case's evidentiary record.
When providing written comments, a consumer should include his or her name, address and a reference to "IURC Rulemaking No. 05-03." The OUCC accepts written consumer comments by mail, fax and 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. The OUCC also offers consumer publications on the regulatory process, natural gas prices, utility service disconnection, and other issues. 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 www.IN.gov/OUCC.
(IURC Rulemaking No. 05-03)
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