The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting written comments from Ogden Dunes municipal water customers on the utility's pending rate case. Under the town's request, water rates would increase by about twenty-percent due to higher operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for capital improvement projects including new pumps and fire hydrants. Ogden Dunes water customers pay on a quarterly basis, and if approved, the typical bill for a three-month period for a residential customer would go up about 17-dollars.
The OUCC – the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) – is reviewing the utility’s request and has not yet taken a position in this case. The OUCC is currently scheduled to complete its review and file its report with the Commission on December 11, 2013.
Current base water rates for the Town of Ogden Dunes were approved in 2008, with adjustments in 2008 and 2010 to recover increased wholesale water costs. According to its filing, the utility is seeking the pending rate increase due to higher operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for capital improvement projects including new pumps and fire hydrants.
Ogden Dunes bills its municipal water customers on a quarterly basis. Under the town’s request, the water bill for a residential customer using 15,000 gallons over the three-month period would rise from $85.85 to $103.28, including the fire protection surcharge. (If viewed in a monthly context, this would equate to an increase from $28.62 to $34.43 for 5,000 gallons.)
Ogden Dunes is seeking the rate increase through 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 and presents its written report and recommendations to the IURC with regard to the utility’s request. The IURC then reviews the evidence and determines what is in the public interest regarding the filing (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 compromise where possible in each IURC case on behalf of ratepayers.
More information on this case, including the utility’s filing, is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2519.htm.
Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:
Mail: Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Fax: (317) 232-5923
Written comments the OUCC receives by December 4, 2013 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44384-U.”
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
(IURC Cause No. 44384-U)
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.
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