For immediate release: Jul 20, 2009
Posted by: [OUCC]
Contact: Anthony Swinger
Phone: (317) 233-2747

Wildwood Shores 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 Wildwood Shores Utilities Corporation - doing business as Aqua Indiana, Inc. - for an increase in its rates and charges for sewer utility service.

The OUCC - the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) - is reviewing Aqua Indiana's request and has not yet taken a position in this case. Currently, the OUCC anticipates completing its technical and legal review in this case and filing its report with the Commission on August 27, 2009.

Aqua Indiana - a wholly owned subsidiary of Aqua America, Inc. - provides sewage disposal service to 86 customers in Morgan County (Madison Township). If the utility's pending proposal were approved, its flat monthly residential sewer rate would increase from $41.55 to $80.00.

According to its filing with the IURC, the utility states that it is seeking the rate increase due to major expansions to its wastewater treatment plant, including nearly tripling the plant's capacity and adding ultraviolet disinfection to its treatment process. Wildwood Shores' current rates were approved in October 2007.

Aqua Indiana is seeking the rate increase through the state's Small Utility Filing Procedure, which is available to utilities with fewer than 5,000 customers and is designed to reduce the time and expense involved with regulatory filings. Savings are gained by allowing utility staff to use standardized forms and the utility's resulting need for less assistance from rate consultants or attorneys.

The standard for OUCC and IURC reviews on small utility filings is the same that applies to traditional utility filings. The OUCC conducts its review on behalf of consumers, while the IURC's review is conducted on behalf of the public interest (a balancing of utility and customer interests). 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 ratepayers in each IURC case.

Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via mail, fax, or the Internet:

Written comments should include the consumer's name, mailing address, and a reference to "IURC Cause No. 43699-U." The OUCC needs to receive all comments in this case no later than August 20, 2009.

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 on this case, including a copy of the utility's filing, please visit the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2557.htm.

 

(IURC Cause No. 43699-U)

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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