Hoosiers can file comments on proposed water rate increases

May 21—Hoosiers can submit written comments through early July on a proposed rate increase from Indiana American Water of $14 per month for a typical residential customer by 2025.

Additionally, wastewater rates in the town of Riley would also see an increase in rates.

The water utility filed the rate increase on March 31 for $875 million in water and wastewater system investments, as well as cost increases for procuring chemicals, goods and services.

Investments include replacing water mains, new meters and hydrants, along with proposed new treatment plants in Winchester and Sheridan, a new storage tank in West Lafayette, chlorine conversion for its Northwest Indiana and Shelbyville operations, customer lead service line replacements, security measures and other projects.

The utility's request also includes the recent costs of acquiring smaller utilities throughout Indiana.

The utility would make increases in a three-step process that would generate $86.7 million in additional annual revenue when fully implemented in 2025. That marks a 31% increase above its current revenue.

Rate increases would take effect in January 2024, April 2024, and April 2025 under the three-step plan. Specific billing impacts would vary by service area, according to the water utility.

The utility's proposal would also raise sewer rates for its 2,800 wastewater customers in Somerset, Sheridan, and Riley, and in portions of Delaware and Clark Counties.

Indiana American operates the wastewater treatment facility in Riley. The company has requested to increase its wastewater rates in Riley to $44.82 per month, or $1.47 per day, when fully implemented in 2025.

Residential wastewater rates would increase about 51% in January 2024; by 6.5% in April 2024; and by 3.35% in April 2025, according to Indiana American's rate filing.

Several parties have intervened in this case, including municipal governments in Crown Point, Schererville, and Whiteland, along with the Sullivan-Vigo Rural Water Corp., the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, and industrial customers, including Cleveland Cliffs Steel, General Motors, Haynes International, Linde, and United States Steel Corporation, according to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, which represents consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, is inviting written consumer comments. They are to be received no later than July 5.

Consumers who wish to submit written comments for the case record may do so via the OUCC's website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, by email at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov, or by mail at Public Comments, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) at 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 SOUTH, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Comments should include the consumer's name, mailing address, and a reference to either "IURC Cause No. 45870" or Indiana American Water Rates.

Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at 888-441-2494.

Indiana American Water provides service to approximately 328,000 customers in more than 50 Indiana communities and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Camden, New Jersey-based, American Water Inc.

Indiana American Water last filed for new rates through a general rate filing in September 2018 and last implemented new rates in 2019.

The OUCC is posting case updates online at https://bit.ly/45opBbZ.

Case updates are also available through the agency's monthly electronic newsletter. Consumers can subscribe at www.in.gov/oucc/news.