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Ind. agency invites public comments on Evansville water rate case

Water treatment plant in Evansville
Water treatment plant in Evansville(Mayor Winnecke's Twitter)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 4:12 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - If you are an Evansville municipal water customer and would like to comment on the utility’s pending rate request, you have the chance to do so.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), is reviewing the utility’s request and is scheduled to file testimony on Aug. 20, 2021.

Written comments will be accepted through Aug. 13, 2021. Click here to do so. You can also submit by email (uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov) or mail.

Public Comments Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South Indianapolis, IN 46204

Comments should include your name, mailing address, and a reference to either “IURC Cause No. 45545” or Evansville Municipal Water. For question, call toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.

The IURC is currently scheduled to hold a public field hearing to hear comments on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, at the University of Southern Indiana’s Health Professions Center (8600 University Blvd.). The hearing is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m., local time, in the Mitchell Auditorium.

Evansville’s water utility is proposing a $15.6 million rate increase to be implemented in five phases. The across-the-board increase would raise rates by nearly 36 percent when fully implemented in 2026. The city is also seeking IURC authority to issue up to approximately $238 million in long-term debt.

According to the city’s testimony, the rate and financing request would cover increases in operating and maintenance costs, along with a long-term capital improvement plan addressing aging infrastructure throughout its water treatment and distribution system.

The city’s request includes construction of a new water treatment plant. Additional projects include main replacements, valve replacements, booster station improvements, road relocations, new hydrants, and a new city garage. According to its testimony, Evansville’s water distribution system includes about 1,000 miles of water mains. Approximately 600 miles of those are cast iron mains with an estimated average age of about 90 years.

In its last rate case in 2018, Evansville received IURC approval for a three-phase water rate increase, implemented in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The city’s pending proposal would raise monthly residential water charges for 5,000 gallons as follows:

Proposed Evansville water rate increases
Proposed Evansville water rate increases(OUCC)

Only the city’s water rates are at issue in this case. The IURC does not have jurisdiction over municipal sewer utility rates, which are set by locally elected city and town councils throughout the state.

A final Commission order is currently expected in March 2022.

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