Two public events will be held on Wednesday, January 10 regarding Lawrenceburg Gas Company's request for a base rate increase. Both events will be held in the cafeteria of Greendale Middle School, 200 Tiger Blvd, Lawrenceburg, Indiana:
- From 5:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., local time, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) will conduct an information meeting. During the half-hour meeting, OUCC staff will discuss the regulatory process and describe public field hearing procedures.
- At 6:00 p.m., local time - immediately following the OUCC information meeting - the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) will conduct a formal public field hearing to accept oral and written consumer testimony regarding the proposal. The comments will become part of the evidentiary record considered by the IURC in reaching its final decision. Commissioners are not permitted to answer consumer questions during the formal field hearing.
Lawrenceburg Gas Co. - an investor-owned utility serving approximately 6,400 customers in parts of Dearborn, Franklin and Ohio Counties - is seeking an increase of approximately $2.11 million in its annual base distribution rate revenues. The utility - whose current distribution rates were approved in 1992 - indicates in testimony that it is seeking the increase to cover higher operating and maintenance expenses.
The OUCC - the state agency representing consumer interests in IURC cases - has filed testimony recommending that a base distribution rate increase be granted but limited to approximately $955,000. The utility's request and OUCC's position differ on several points including insurance costs, legal fees, income taxes and other operating cost issues. The OUCC reserves the right to file supplemental testimony based on information submitted at the January 10 field hearing.
A natural gas utility's base distribution rate makes up approximately 25 to 30 percent of an average residential consumer's heating bill and pays for "non-gas" costs including infrastructure costs and operating and maintenance expenses.
This case will not impact the utility's gas supply costs, which typically comprise 70 to 75 percent of an average residential customer's monthly heating bill. Supply costs will continue to move up or down with natural gas prices in the competitive wholesale market as approved from the IURC's Gas Cost Adjustment (GCA) process. Quarterly GCA filings are subject to OUCC review and IURC approval.
Consumers who are unable to attend the January 10 events are encouraged to submit written comments to the OUCC in advance. Comments should include the consumer's name, address, and a reference to IURC Cause No. 43090. Consumers can send comments to the OUCC by mail, fax or the Internet:
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494. In addition, the OUCC offers a number of free consumer publications on utility service issues including tips for providing effective comments on pending cases, a guide to understanding natural gas rates, and tips for saving money on utility bills. All OUCC publications are available by visiting the agency's Website or calling the agency toll-free.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is the state agency that represents utility consumer interests in state and federal regulatory proceedings. To learn more, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC.
(IURC Cause No. 43090)
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