Customers stunned by water rate increase and no public hearing
Water utility not required to hold public hearing for rate increase
MOORESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — According to the Hill Water Corporation website, the company provides water to 3000 customers. The latest water bill for most of those customers jumped up by 60%, and the customers have no where to turn to dispute the increase.
“I went to Hill Water. I was not very happy, and I pretty much chewed them out.” said Inge Worley. Inge and her husband Walter watch every dollar they spend. They are both disabled and on a fixed income. The Worleys told I-Team 8’s Richard Essex the water bill for their two-story house had been under $30 for years, then seemingly out of nowhere, the price shot up. Inge says the company didn’t contact them about the increase, so she called the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to complain.
“I called the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, and they are not under their jurisdiction anymore since 1995, so they pretty much have the monopoly and they can do whatever they want to, whatever the board decides they will do.” said Worley.
According to the IURC website, utility companies can opt out, provided they follow specific processes under state law. The Hill Water Corporation is member-owned and voted to opt out of IURC more than 25 years ago.
I-Team 8’s Richard Essex called the Hill Water Corporation for an explanation of the rate increase. The company said the board of directors would vote at their next meeting whether or not to issue a statement
Walter Worley is the town board president of Bethany Park, which is just south of Mooresville. the town doesn’t own or control any utilities. He says no one from Hill Water Corp contacted the board or offered an explanation for the increase. He is surprised Hill Water is no longer part of IURC jurisdiction, which means they aren’t required to hold public hearings for rate increases.
“I always thought that the state regulatory commission on utilities was over all utilities, not just those that pick and choose” said Worley
According to Hill Water Corporation website, The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has approved plans for a new water treatment facility. The increased fees are expected to cover the cost. The company is waiting for additional approval before construction begins.