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

Chandler 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 Chandler Municipal Water Utility's request 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) - is reviewing the town'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 11, 2009.

According to its testimony before the IURC, the town is requesting additional revenues to pay for a proposed new treatment plant, other infrastructure improvements and increases in operating and maintenance costs.

Chandler's current municipal water rates were approved in 2006, in IURC Cause No. 42856. That case included cost recovery for infrastructure improvements, while also envisioning additional improvements and rate recovery in subsequent cases. The case that is now pending includes rate recovery for the second phase of the utility's proposed construction.

The town's pending proposal would increase rates in two steps. If approved, it would increase the monthly bill for a residential customer using 5,000 gallons from $24.33 to $25.50 in the first phase (taking effect when a final order is issued in this case), and then to $29.02 in the second phase (likely to take effect after the utility's proposed improvements are complete). In this case, Chandler is also requesting authority to issue up to $5.38 million in long-term debt.

An IURC technical evidentiary hearing in this case is currently scheduled for September 15, 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. The OUCC attempts to reach a fair settlement for consumers in each rate case, with any such agreement subject to IURC approval.

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. 43658." The OUCC needs to receive all comments in this case no later than August 4, 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 town's testimony, please visit the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2554.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 town'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. 43658)

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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