Citizens Energy Group files for water rate increase

INDIANAPOLIS -- Citizens Energy Group filed a request Friday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for an increase in water rates.

If the request is approved, the average homeowner’s bill would increase by $6 per month starting in 2016. Citizens says the average residential bill is currently about $30 a month.

Also as part of the filing, Citizens is proposing a special rate that would give a 15 percent discount to low-income residents who have enrolled in the Indiana Energy Assistance Program.

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“When Citizens acquired the water utility in 2011, we knew rate increases would be necessary in order to upgrade a system that had been neglected for decades,” said Jeff Harrison, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “The proposed low-income rate allows us to improve our water system while also keeping the financial needs of our customers top of mind.”

The company also plans to create a special financial assistance fund for water customers in need.

The petition filed with the IURC says Citizens has $49.5 million in capital needs every year for replacing water mains, improving treatment plants and replacing meters and fire hydrants.

The utility says people are using less water, pointing to a study that blames water-efficient appliances and people aiming to conserve water.

The petition also says Citizens has reduced executive compensation by $860,000. The list includes President and CEO Carey Lykins who is retiring July 1, as well as other executives who have already retired.

Officials said the newly announced Citizens Reservoir will help supply central Indiana with enough drinking water for years to come. The 88-acre reservoir is expected to be completed in 2020.

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“While we are proud of the progress we have made in improving infrastructure, we know more investments need to be made to ensure our water system is dependable well into the future,” Harrison said.

Any customers who have concerns about payment can call 317-924-3311 or visit the company’s website.

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