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IURC Affirms Knightstown’s Water Rate Increase
August 6, 2008 - The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission issued an order last Wednesday approving a 43.84-percent across-the-board increase in rates and charges for customers of Knightstown's water utility.
Knightstown filed a petition with the IURC in February seeking a 47.8-percent increase. In a response filed in late May, the Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor, which represents utility consumers in rate change cases, argued that the requested increase was too high. The IURC agreed.
In last week's order, the IURC determined that the town's water utility requires an additional $104,991 in yearly revenue. To meet this financial need, the agency authorized the lower 43.84-percent increase in rates and charges recommended by the OUCC, and approved an increase in the utility's tap fee from $330 to $750.
According to the IURC's order, a residential customer using 5,000 gallons of water a month would see their bill increase from $15.45 to $22.20. The new rates and charges will not take effect until the utility files a new schedule of rates and charges with the IURC that is consistent with last week's order.
The IURC's order also directs Knightstown to begin replacing water meters at the rate of 70 per year, at an estimated cost of $50 per meter, a 15-year plan recommended by the OUCC. The town had wanted to replace the meters at a rate of 200 each year at an estimated cost of $30 per meter.
The OUCC had also asked the IURC to require the town's water utility to obtain pricing for and make plans to acquire standby power for its well field and treatment plant. The IURC declined to do this, however, agreeing with the town that further investigation into the issue of standby power should be reserved until the next time a rate adjustment is sought.
The IURC has also ordered Knightstown to pay a total of $5,428.79 for expenses related to this matter. According to last week's order, $1,572.48 is for staff costs incurred by the IURC, $3,832.46 is for OUCC staff costs, and $23.85 is for legal advertising charges.
At the request of a dozen Knightstown water utility customers, the IURC held a public hearing at Knightstown High School on May 20. Only three area residents testified at that proceeding.
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