Indiana American Water rate agreement approved

Indiana American Water Co. residential customers in Seymour using 4,000 gallons of water a month will pay 34 cents more in July than they did a month earlier.

The increase stems from a settlement agreement, issued June 26 by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, involving the utility, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and other parties.

The agreement will allow for an overall annual revenue increase of $17.5 million, less than half the $38.8 million increase sought by the water utility when the rate case was filed in September 2018.

The 0.96% rate increase for a residential customer in Seymour will be followed July 1, 2020, by a second increase of $2.22 or 6.3%.

The agreement also resolves issues pertaining to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and the sharing of federal tax relief with customers.

The order provides a one-time refund reflecting the amount collected in revenues after the act was implemented, but before rates were changed, to be distributed to customers over a 12-month period starting in May 2020. The refund for the typical residential customer will total approximately $19.26, or approximately $1.60 per month for one year. The water company already reduced its rates by 4.4 percent on Aug. 1, 2018, as a result of the impact of the jobs act.

“The commission’s order brings a fair resolution to this case,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Bill Fine.

“The increase under the approved agreement is significantly lower than what IAWC had requested," Fine said. "More importantly, the agreement provides an appropriate balance between aging infrastructure improvements and fair rates to cover those costs, to help ensure the reliable delivery of clean water to the utility’s customers throughout the state."

Water company President Matt Prine said the company appreciates the cooperation of the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and other interested parties.

“We believe the terms embodied in this agreement and the IURC’s order are both reasonable and fair and in the best interests of our customers across the state,” Prine said.

Other settling parties were the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana; the Indiana Community Action Association; industrial customers Arcelor Mittal USA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Praxair Inc.; municipal governments from Crown Point, Schererville and Whiteland; and Sullivan-Vigo Water Corp.

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