OUCC Taking Comments On LMS Conservancy Water Rate Case

Monday, September 14, 2020 at 9:16 AM

By Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, news release

Customers of Lawrenceburg Manchester Sparta Townships Conservancy District are asked to comment on the utility's pending water rate request.

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - If you are a customer of Lawrenceburg Manchester Sparta Townships Conservancy District (LMS) and would like to comment on the utility’s pending water rate request, you have the chance to do so.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), is reviewing the utility’s request and anticipates filing testimony on Nov. 12, 2020.

While using its legal and technical resources to analyze the request, including examining the utility’s books and operations, the OUCC is inviting written comments from customers through Nov. 5, 2020.

The utility’s request, if approved, would raise the monthly residential water bill for a customer using 5,000 gallons from $28.58 to $34.54. In its filings, the utility states it is seeking the increase to cover higher operating costs, for storage tank, well, and pump maintenance, and to provide debt service to pay for upgrades to its transmission and distribution system, along with new service lines to approximately 135 customers.

Current rates for LMS received IURC approval in 2017. The district provides water to more than 2,000 customers in Dearborn County.

The utility is seeking the rate increase through the IURC’s Small Utility Filing Procedure, which is designed to reduce the time and expense involved with regulatory filings for utilities with fewer than 8,000 customers. Savings are gained by allowing utility staff to use standardized forms and forego a technical evidentiary hearing. This is designed to result in utilities needing less assistance from rate consultants or attorneys, leading to fewer expenses to be passed on to customers.

The OUCC uses the same standard to review a utility’s operations and records whether it seeks a rate increase through the Small Utility Filing Procedure or a traditional case. Conducting its review on behalf of all utility consumers, the OUCC will present the results of its review through a report to the IURC, including formal testimony. The IURC’s review is conducted on behalf of the public interest (a balancing of utility and customer interests); it is responsible for resolving any factual disputes that may arise and issuing a final order establishing new rates. 

A settlement agreement is possible in any legal proceeding; such an agreement, if reached, would require IURC approval.

Consumers who wish to submit written comments for the case record may do so via the OUCC’s website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, by email at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov, or by mail at:

Consumer Services Staff

Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South

Indianapolis, IN 46204

The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments no later than Nov. 5, 2020 so that it can: 1) Consider them in preparing its testimony and 2) File them with the Commission to be included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to either “IURC Cause No. 45412-U” or LMS. Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.

The OUCC is posting case updates online at www.in.gov/oucc/2719.htm. Case updates are also available through the agency’s monthly electronic newsletter. Consumers can subscribe at www.in.gov/oucc/2877.htm.

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