The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews the pending request of South Lawrence Utilities, Inc. for an increase in its water rates and charges.
The OUCC, the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), is reviewing South Lawrence's request and has not yet taken a position in this case. Currently, the OUCC is scheduled to complete its technical and legal review in this case and file its report with the Commission on October 30, 2009.
South Lawrence Utilities is a not-for-profit utility serving approximately 2,450 customers in southern Lawrence County. The utility's request, if approved, would raise the monthly water bill for a residential customer using 5,000 gallons from $54.85 to $68.25. In addition, the utility is requesting authority to seek up to $1.3 million in long-term debt while also seeking $600,000 in grants. According to its testimony, the utility is seeking the changes due to increases in operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for infrastructure improvements (including a new 200,000-gallon storage tank and a new laboratory and office facility). South Lawrence's current rates were approved in March 2008.
A technical evidentiary hearing in this case is scheduled for December 4, 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 written testimony on behalf of the case's formal parties.
Consumers who wish to submit written comments to the OUCC can do so by mail, fax or the Internet:
- Mail: Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Fax: (317) 232-5923
- E-mail: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov
- OUCC Website: www.IN.gov/OUCC
Written comments should include the consumer's name, mailing address, and a reference to IURC Cause No. 43720.
The OUCC needs to receive all comments in this case by October 23. 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 testimony, visit the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2574.htm. The OUCC Website also offers free consumer information on the regulatory process, along with tips for reducing water and energy bills.
(IURC Cause Nos. 43688, 43720)
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC's mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving. To learn more, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC.