For immediate release: Apr 18, 2008
Posted by: [OUCC]
Contact: Anthony Swinger
Phone: (317) 233-2747

LMH sewer rate case: State utility consumer advocate accepting public comments

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews the request of LMH Utilities Corp. for an increase in its 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 utility's request but is currently scheduled to complete its review and file testimony in this case on Tuesday, June 10. 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.

LMH is an investor-owned utility providing sewage disposal service to more than 1,100 customers in Dearborn County (Miller and Harrison Townships). LMH's pending request - if approved - would increase the sewer bill for a customer using 5,000 gallons per month from $38.55 to $67.64. In its testimony before the IURC, LMH states that it is seeking the increase due to a recent capacity expansion and other capital improvements at its treatment plant, in addition to higher operating and maintenance costs.

Current rates for LMH were approved in 1998, though the utility sought a rate increase in 2006 in IURC Cause No. 43022. In the 2006 case, the OUCC and LMH reached a settlement that would have provided a substantially smaller increase than what LMH had proposed. However, the IURC issued an order rejecting the settlement and directing the utility to seek guidance from the OUCC on a variety of concerns, including the establishment of appropriate accounting records. While the OUCC provided general guidance to LMH regarding industry accounting and engineering standards in 2007, the OUCC has taken no position on the utility's pending proposal and will conduct accounting audits and engineering analyses as part of its ongoing review.

The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments in this case no later than Thursday, June 5. Comments should include the consumer's name, address, and a reference to "IURC Cause No. 43431," and can be submitted by mail, fax or the Internet:

For more information on this case, including links to the utility's testimony, visit the OUCC Website. Copies of the utility's testimony are also available for public review at the Lawrenceburg Public Library (150 Mary St., Lawrenceburg) and the North Dearborn Branch Library (25969 Dole Rd., West Harrison). 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 is available on the OUCC Website or by calling the agency toll-free.

 

(IURC Cause No. 43431)

 

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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