Consumer advocate, utility reach deal on water rate hike


Tribune staff reports

The water utility serving Seymour and other Hoosier communities and a consumer advocacy group have reached an agreement allowing for a rate increase.

The state utility regulatory commission, however, will have to approve the increase sought by Indiana American Water Co.

In January, the Greenwood-based company asked the state for permission to raise water rates by 9.8 percent.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, a state agency representing consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities, responded to the request and instead recommended a rate decrease of 5.5 percent.

Both groups recently reached an agreement, which would allow the water utility to increase rates by about

2.6 percent, according to a news release from the consumer counselor.

The company has invested more than $220 million in its water and wastewater systems across the state, according to a news release from Indiana American Water.

The agreed-upon increase is primarily based on that investment. Specific rate impacts by district and class will be included in the regulatory commission’s final rate order. The company provides water service to more than 1.2 million people.

The water company’s current cost of equity, which is the amount of profit it can give back to shareholders, also would rise slightly under the agreement, from 9.7 percent to 9.75 percent.

The utility had originally asked for a 10.8 percent increase.

Under the agreement, the utility also could not ask for any other rate increases until at least 2018.

The regulatory commission may decide to approve, modify or reject the agreement. A decision is likely within the next few months, a commission spokesperson said.

For more information about the rate request, visit

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