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Public May Spout Off at Water Rate Hearing
May 14, 2008 - Customers of Knightstown's water utility will have an opportunity Tuesday evening to provide input on the town's efforts to raise water rates and charges 47.8 percent.
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will hold a public hearing in the Knightstown High School auditorium, 8149 W. U.S. Hwy. 40, at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The IURC will accept both written and oral comments from utility customers, which will become part of the evidentiary record the agency will consider before approving or rejecting the town's request.
According to the Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor, the state agency that represents consumers in rate change cases, the town's requested increase would raise monthly water bills for residential customers using 5,000 gallons from $20.47 to $31.13. The OUCC said the town claims additional revenues from the increase - the town's first since 1991 - would cover increases in operating and maintenance costs, including new meters, pumping equipment and office equipment.
Immediately prior to Tuesday's public hearing, an OUCC representative will conduct an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the KHS auditorium to discuss the regulatory process and describe procedures for the IURC hearing. According to a press release issued last week, IURC commissioners are not permitted to answer utility customers' questions during the public hearing.
The town filed its 121-page request for an increase in water rates and charges with the IURC on February 19. The OUCC is expected to file a response on behalf of utility customers later this month.
In an effort to keep costs down, the town opted to use what is termed a "small utility filing procedure," which normally does not require the IURC to hold a public hearing. However, because more then 10 Knightstown water utility customers filed a request with the IURC asking for a public hearing, the agency is required to hold one.
Utility customers who are unable to attend the OUCC meeting and IURC public hearing on Tuesday are encouraged to submit written comments to the OUCC in advance. Comments, which must include the customer's name and address, and reference IURC Cause No. 4344-U, may be mailed to the OUCC at: Consumer Services Staff-Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Comments may also be faxed to the OUCC at (317) 232-5923, or e-mailed to uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov.
Additional information on this case, including a link to the town's formal request, is available on the OUCC website at www.in.gov/oucc/3375.htm. Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at (888) 441-2494.
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