Residents express concerns about proposed water rate hike at special meeting

Local News

The City of Fort Wayne wants to raise water rates for its customers to help pay for the replacement and rehabilitation of mains throughout its water system as well as other improvements. But not everyone is on board with the proposal.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) held a public hearing in Fort Wayne on Monday. Residents spoke out about the proposed water rate hike during the hearing at Homestead High School.

Neil Warner is a Fort Wayne resident. He attended the meeting and said he’s worried about how the change would impact him and his neighbors.

“The majority of them are retired,” Warner said. “They’re on a fixed income so this rate increase is going to impact their livelihood and their ability to afford food, water and going out to eat.”

The IURC has jurisdiction over Fort Wayne’s water rates and charges. State law requires the agency to balance utility and ratepayer interests before allowing changes to be made. 

Anthony Swinger is a spokesperson for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC). It’s a separate agency that specifically represents the interests of all ratepayers in IURC cases.

“We give each rate case a very thorough legal and technical review,” Swinger said. “Of course, another very important piece of the puzzle is hearing directly from the folks who are being affected by the proposal.”

Current rates for Fort Wayne’s municipal water utility received IURC approval in 2012. The city is proposing a five-phase increase; the first phase would take effect when a Commission order is issued next year, with each following phase to take effect every 12 months. Under the request, monthly residential water charges for 700 cubic feet (approximately 5,230 gallons) would rise as follows:

 Current

Phase 1
2019

Phase 2
2020

Phase 3
2021
Phase 4
2022
Phase 5
2023
In City*$26.20$27.33$29.38$31.14$32.94$34.86
Out of City*$30.20$31.64$33.19$34.91$36.59$38.38

*Amounts include fire protection surcharges

Consumers who missed Monday’s hearing, but still wish to submit written comments for the case record may do so via the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor’s website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, via 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 deadline to submit comments for the record is October 23, 2018.

The OUCC will review the comments and the utility’s request before filing testimony in this case on October 30, 2018.

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