UPDATE: IURC orders in these cases were issued on January 16, 2008. For more information, click here.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews Kingsbury Utility Corporation's request for increases in its water and sewer rates and charges.
The OUCC - the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) - has not yet taken a position on the utility's requests but currently anticipates completing its review and filing its report in these cases on Wednesday, August 15. Consumers who wish to provide written comments on the proposals in the meantime may submit them to the OUCC's consumer services staff via mail, e-mail or fax.
Under the utility's requests, the monthly water bill for an average residential customer using 5,000 gallons per month would increase from $17.55 to $21.30. The monthly sewer bill for a customer with the same usage would increase from $15.60 to $32.75.
Kingsbury - an investor-owned utility serving nearly 100 customers in LaPorte County - indicates in its filings before the IURC that it is requesting the increases to pay for higher operating and maintenance costs, along with a return on capital improvements including water distribution system improvements and new sewage treatment and disposal equipment. The utility's current rates were approved in April 2006.
Kingsbury has applied for the rate increases using 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.
Electronic copies of Kingsbury's filings are available online and linked from the OUCC Website.
The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments in these cases no later than Friday, August 10. Comments should include the consumer's name, address, and a reference to "IURC Cause Nos. 43296-U and 43297-U," and can be submitted by mail, fax or the Internet:
- Mail: Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
100 N. Senate Ave., Room N501
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2215
- Fax: (317) 232-5923
- E-mail: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov
- OUCC Website: www.IN.gov/OUCC
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
Additional information on the regulatory process and other utility consumer topics - including tips for saving money on water bills and a guide to understanding sewer rates - is available on the OUCC Website or by 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 Nos. 43296-U, 43297-U)
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