For immediate release: Mar 16, 2010
Posted by: [OUCC]
Contact: Anthony Swinger
Phone: 1-888-441-2494

Northern Richland 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 Northern Richland Sewer Corporation's pending 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 Northern Richland'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 April 22, 2010.

Northern Richland Sewer Corporation is a not-for-profit utility serving approximately 240 customers in Monroe County. According to its filing with the IURC, the utility is seeking the rate change due to increases in operating and maintenance costs. If approved, the utility's request would raise the residential sewer bill for a metered customer using 5,000 gallons from $40.66 to $49.26. Northern Richland's current base rates were approved in 1972 but have been adjusted on several occasions due to increases in wholesale treatment costs.

Northern Richland 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 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. 43791-U.

The OUCC needs to receive all comments in this case by April 16, 2010. 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/2586.htm.

 

(IURC Cause No. 43791-U)

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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