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Citizens requests sewage rate increase

Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 25, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Citizens Energy Group is proposing to raise wastewater rates to fix the city’s century-old sewer system.

The company filed a petition with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on Friday. If approved, the average $35 monthly water bill would increase by $15 starting in July 2016 and another $3 a year later.

“The century-old sewer system in much of our city produces about six billion gallons of raw sewage each year that overflow into area waterways,” said Jeff Harrison, President and CEO of Citizens Energy Group in a statement.

“In order to fix this problem, we must continue making vital infrastructure investments which are required as a result of our federally mandated Consent Decree.”

According to a press release from Citizens Energy Group, the biggest infrastructure investment is happening underground through a project called DigIndy, a 28-mile network of underground tunnels that will capture and store raw sewage until it can be treated.

In addition, Citizens Energy Group is investing in Septic Tank Elimination Program. The program removes customers from failing septic tanks, eliminating the risk of raw sewage leaks.

In June, Citizens Energy Group filed a request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for an increase in water rates.

RELATED | Citizens Energy Group files for water rate increase

If that request is approved, the average homeowner’s bill would increase by $6 a month starting in 2016.

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.

Citizens Energy Group said it is proposing a 15 percent discount to customers in the Indiana Energy Assistance Program for both proposals.

Citizens Energy Group CEO Jeff Harrison is a guest on Indianapolis This Week on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and noon. He will discuss rate increase requests and raw sewage overflow.