For immediate release: Nov 13, 2009
Posted by: [OUCC]
Contact: Anthony Swinger
Phone: 1-888-441-2494

Petersburg 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 Petersburg's pending request 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 Petersburg'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 January 7, 2010.

Petersburg's municipal water utility is seeking a two-phase water rate increase. Under the city's proposal, the monthly water bill for a residential customer using 5,000 gallons would rise from $13.25 to $20.15 when an order is issued in this case, and to $20.75 once its proposed capital improvements are complete. The city is seeking to implement a new monthly public fire protection surcharge that would be effective in 2011 and would be $2.86 for most residential customers. In addition, the utility is seeking IURC authorization to issue up to $1.4 million in revenue bonds.

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 new water mains, improvements at the city's water treatment plant, and new electrical infrastructure at the city's well field.

Petersburg's current water rates were approved in 2000. Only the city's water rates are at issue in this case. Indiana law does not place municipal sewer utility rates and charges under IURC jurisdiction.

An IURC technical evidentiary hearing in this case is currently scheduled for February 3, 2010 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 customers in all rate cases.

Consumers may submit written comments to the OUCC by mail, fax or the Internet:

Written comments should include the consumer's name, mailing address, and a reference to IURC Cause No. 43757.

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, please visit the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2577.htm.

The OUCC's 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.

 

(IURC Cause No. 43757)

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.

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