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State Consumer Rep Recommends Rate Cut

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is recommending that Indiana American Water Company's proposed rate increase be rejected -- and that existing rates be lowered. In testimony filed Friday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the state's agency for utility consumers is recommending the company reduce its annual operating revenues by five-and-a-half percent.  Indiana American Water is seeking to raise its total annual operating revenues by 19-point-six million dollars for numerous infrastructure improvements around the state, a proposal that would mean an increase of over 17-percent for northwest Indiana customers. Among other things, the state office is recommending the company use "more realistic projections of customer growth, declining usage, and property tax expenses than those included in the utility’s testimony,' and cut back requested increases in areas that include management, payroll, and marketing. Locally, the communities of Crown Point and Schererville have intervened in the case.  Indiana American Water, which provides service to about 290-thousand customers throughout Indiana, has until May 28 to file rebuttal testimony.
“The analysis by our attorneys and technical staff in this case shows that a revenue reduction is warranted,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler. “The revenue requirement the OUCC is recommending will ensure sufficient funds to address IAWC’s operational and infrastructure needs, and to address the utility’s obligation to provide safe and reliable service to all of its customers.” An IURC technical evidentiary hearing, at which IAWC may cross-examine witnesses for the OUCC and other parties, is scheduled to start on June 23 in Indianapolis and continue into July. Friday’s OUCC filing does not break down the recommended revenue decrease by service territory, but focuses on the utility’s overall revenue requirement. After the IURC issues its final order in the case, the utility will file a tariff demonstrating how it intends to implement the order’s terms including rates by service territory. The OUCC has the right to object to the proposed tariff if necessary.
For an electronic copy of the OUCC’s testimony, please visit the agency’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2654.htm. Tips for managing water bills and more information on the regulatory process can also be found on the OUCC site.  Only the rates and charges of Indiana American Water Company are at issue in this case. Indiana law does not give the IURC jurisdiction over municipal sewer and stormwater utility services.
(IURC Cause No. 44450)
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.
For more info: www.IN.gov/OUCC , www.twitter.com/IndianaOUCC or www.facebook.com/IndianaOUCC
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