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

Princeton Municipal Water 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 City of Princeton's request for an increase in its municipal water rates.

The OUCC - the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) - is reviewing the city'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 testimony with the Commission on August 14, 2009.

Princeton's current municipal water rates were approved in 2001. According to its testimony before the IURC, the city is requesting additional revenues to pay for a number of planned infrastructure improvements, including a new 500,000 gallon storage tank, new treatment pumps, and improvements to the city's water treatment plant.

The city's proposal would increase rates in two phases. If approved, it would increase the monthly bill for a residential customer using 5,000 gallons from $25.28 to $39.35 after a final order is issued in this case, then to $42.73 after the city's proposed capital improvements are complete. These dollar amounts include the utility's fire protection surcharge. In this case, Princeton is also requesting authority to issue up to $4.15 million in long-term debt.

An IURC technical evidentiary hearing in this case is currently scheduled for September 22, 2009 in Indianapolis. 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 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. 43652." The OUCC needs to receive all comments in this case no later than August 7, 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 city's testimony, please visit the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2551.htm.

The OUCC Website also offers a number of utility consumer publications at no charge, including tips for saving water and energy, along with a guide to the regulatory process.

Customers should note that only the city's water rates and charges are at issue in this case. Rates for municipal sewer and stormwater utility services are exempt from IURC jurisdiction under Indiana law.

 

(IURC Cause No. 43652)

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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