Rate Case Overview & Process
Rate Case Overview
A rate case begins when a utility files a petition with the Commission to modify its rates and charges. Utilities under the Commission’s jurisdiction must receive Commission approval to modify or establish new rates and charges. A public utility must inform its customers of the pending case within 45 days of the filing date. After a petition is filed, it receives a docket number and is assigned to an Administrative Law Judge who presides over the case. Although multiple commissioners may be assigned to complex cases, a single commissioner is routinely assigned to each case. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents the public in all cases before the IURC. Base rate cases that are currently pending before the Commission can be found here.
Standard Procedural Schedule for Rate Cases
Utility files a petition with the Commission.
Prehearing conferences are where filing and hearing dates are determined and a procedural schedule is established by the assigned commissioners and Administrative Law Judge after input from all parties involved.
Utility prefilings are the utility’s case-in-chief evidence pre-filed with the Commission to support the relief requested.
Field hearings are public hearings that give utility customers an opportunity to speak in favor of or against cases pending before the Commission.
- If a utility seeks an increase in revenues that exceeds $2.5 million, at least one field hearing held in the largest municipality within a utility's service territory is required for base rate cases.
- Field hearings may also be held at the discretion of the Commission.
- Consumers may always comment on pending cases before the Commission by submitting their written comments to the OUCC.
Public and other intervenors’ prefilings are the public’s, represented by the OUCC, and any other interested parties’ evidence in the case.
Settlement hearings occur when the parties present the terms of a negotiated settlement to the Commission for consideration. Settlements must generally be reached before the last evidentiary hearing.
Rebuttal testimony is evidence refuting the public’s and intervenors’ prefilings and is submitted by the utility.
Evidentiary hearings are hearings where the petitioner, the intervenors, and the OUCC present their evidence and cross-examine witnesses.
Post-hearing filings are submitted by each party in the case stating their positions, as well as their recommendations, for the final Order. After these filings are made, the commissioners review the evidence presented by all parties, as well as staff analysis. An Administrative Law Judge then drafts an Order for Commission review and approval.
Conference is where the commissioners vote on the Order (decision). It is typically held every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. but is subject to change by the Commission.
Important Information Regarding Rate Cases
Rate cases typically take 10 to 12 months from the initial filing of the petition to the date of the Commission’s decision.
If a utility seeks an increase in revenues that exceeds $2.5 million, the Commission is required by statute to hold at least one field hearing in the largest municipality located within the utility’s service area.
Generally, a utility may not file a request for a general increase in its basic rates and charges earlier than fifteen months after the filing date of its most recent request for a general increase in basic rates, per Indiana Code § 8-1-2-42(a).
Court reporters record verbal testimony and exhibits submitted during evidentiary hearings and field hearings. Transcripts are available upon request pursuant to the court reporter’s fee schedule.
Commission Orders may be appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals by parties to the case.