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City of Bloomington Utilities proposes water rate increase

Average residential customer would pay $45 more a year
Bloomington Downtown.PNG
Posted at 11:14 AM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 11:15:58-05

BLOOMINGTON — The City of Bloomington Utilities has proposed a water bill rate increase that would result in the average resident paying about 18% more per year in order to fund and improve water infrastructure in the city.

The increase is proposed to take place in two stages in 2022 and 2024. According to the City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU), the first phase would provide an extra $1.98 million per year, while the second would generate another $1.77 million annually.

By 2024, a residential customer with average water use would pay $24.64 a month, which would equate to an extra $45 a year.

“Regular rate increases ensure appropriate maintenance of our water mains and smarter tools for monitoring our water use — such as the smart meters we were able to install with the 2016 rate increase," Mayor John Hamilton said in a news release. "In addition, this rate case will work to redistribute the costs of maintaining our water utility in a more equitable way among all customers.”

A rate case process scheduled for 2020 was delayed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A cost-of-service study presented Monday to the Utilities Service Board Finance Subcommittee showed residential customers have historically paid rates that are higher than their cost of service while other customers have paid less than their cost of service.

The adjusted rates would provide more equity among customers, according to the CBU. Government facilities, businesses and Indiana University, among others, would see larger percentage increases than residential customers.

The finance subcommittee will meet Jan. 11 and Jan. 19 to discuss the rate increase. A vote on the increase will take place Jan. 19.

If the rate increase is approved, the CBU will file the rate request with the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission before the end of March. Final rates approved by the IURC would go into effect in early 2022.

CBU customers can ask questions during a Zoom video conference from noon-1:30 p.m. Thursday.