Water company seeks rate hike to fund infrastructure projects

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GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A water company serving more than 1.3 million customers across Indiana is seeking a 16.79 percent rate increase to fund infrastructure projects totaling more than half a billion dollars. 

Indiana American Water filed their petition for rate adjustment Friday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), the company confirmed in a statement to News 8. 

If approved, the rate hike would be phased in; an initial 8.22 percent increase would take effect in July 2019, followed by an 8.57 percent increase in July 2020. 

A residential customer using 4,000 gallons of water monthly would ultimately pay an additional $5.60 per month or $67.20 per year, compared to water rates for August 2018. 

The improvement projects the company described as the “primary driver behind the request” are “necessary” to maintain water quality and affordability, according to a news release, and would cost more than $542 million.

The company’s proposed infrastructure investments include system upgrades at water treatment facilities in Kokomo, Richmond and Muncie; construction of a new water treatment facility in Noblesville; safety-related enhancements for disinfection systems at nine facilities; construction of a solar energy facility in Newburgh; replacement or retirement of nearly 6,700 lead service lines; replacement or repair of wells, pumping stations, water mains and other “critical” facilities across the state; and replacement of more than 30 miles of aging water mains. 

Indiana American Water previously filed a request for a 9.8 percent rate hike in 2014; the state approved a 2.6 percent rate increase in 2015.

Customers will be notified within 45 days through a bill insert, a spokesperson for Indiana American Water said Monday. 

At least one public hearing with opportunity for public comment must be conducted before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission can approve the petition. 

Written comments on the proposed rate increase can be submitted online to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

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