For immediate release: May 22, 2008
Posted by: [OUCC]
Contact: Anthony Swinger
Phone: (317) 233-2747

Citizens Gas rate case: State utility consumer advocate inviting public comments, Public meeting and hearing scheduled for Monday, June 2

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews Citizens Gas & Coke Utility's pending request for an increase in its base rates and charges.

The OUCC - the state agency representing ratepayer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) - has not yet taken a position in this case but is scheduled to complete its review and file testimony on July 23.

Two public events regarding this case are scheduled for Monday, June 2 in Indianapolis. Both events will take place in IURC Judicial Courtroom 222 at the National City Center, 101 W. Washington St.:

Citizens Gas - a municipally owned public charitable trust - provides natural gas utility service to approximately 265,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Marion County and is requesting more than $19.6 million in new annual general operating revenues in this case. According to the utility's testimony and exhibits, the additional revenue would cover increases in operating and maintenance expenses while covering infrastructure costs such as transmission and service line extensions and replacements, new meters, and pipeline safety improvements.

The proposed increase in this case would only apply to the utility's base distribution rate, which comprises approximately 25 percent of a typical residential natural gas customer's monthly heating bill. Base distribution rates cover "non-gas" costs such as operating and maintenance expenses, and capital and infrastructure improvements. The current annual revenue requirement for Citizens Gas was approved in October 2006.

Wholesale natural gas costs, which make up approximately 75 percent of a typical customer's bill, are recovered on a dollar-for-dollar basis through the state's gas cost adjustment (GCA) process. The GCA process for Citizens Gas, which includes an OUCC audit and requires IURC approval every three months, will not be affected by this case.

Data in the utility's case exhibits indicate that the proposal would increase an average residential heating bill by nearly $4.50 per month.

In addition to the June 2 events, Citizens Gas customers are encouraged to submit written comments regarding the rate case to the OUCC. Comments should include the consumer's name, address, and a reference to IURC Cause No. 43463. Consumers can send comments to the OUCC by mail, fax or the Internet:

Additional information on this case, including links to the utility's testimony, is available on the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/3381.htm. Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.

For additional information about the regulatory process and other utility consumer topics - including tips for managing energy utility bills and a guide to understanding natural gas prices - please visit the OUCC Website or call the agency toll-free.

 

(IURC Cause No. 43463)

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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