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Citizens Reaches Agreement to Reduce Proposed Wastewater Rate Increase

INDIANAPOLIS - Citizens Energy Group and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) announced today an agreement to reduce the utility’s wastewater rate increase proposed last September. If approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), the average monthly residential wastewater bill will increase approximately $8.50 per month in 2016 and another $2.50 per month in 2017. The current average residential bill is about $35 per month, depending on consumption.  Citizens had previously proposed increasing rates $15 per month in 2016 and $3 per month in 2017.
As part of the agreement, Citizens will establish a crisis fund to help low-income wastewater customers having difficulty paying their bill. The crisis fund will be financed with revenue from non-utility operations.
“With a half inch of rain forecast today, about 100 million gallons of raw sewage will overflow from our aging sewer system into area waterways. The wastewater agreement will allow us to continue federally mandated projects to eliminate sewer overflows. We will also be able to continue eliminating failing septic tanks across Central Indiana,” said Jeffrey Harrison, President & CEO of Citizens Energy Group. “In addition, the agreement creates an important mechanism to help low-income customers. As we make vital system improvements, we will remain focused on identifying additional efficiencies to hold down costs.”
Citizens was able to reduce its previously proposed wastewater rate increase by identifying additional efficiencies while maintaining planned system improvement projects. The wastewater rate increase will fund about $425 million of system improvements over the next two years including:
  • Dig Indy Tunnel System – Work is underway on a 28-mile network of 18-foot diameter tunnels located 250 feet beneath the ground and stretching across Marion County. The first 9 miles of the tunnel system will be complete in 2017. When Dig Indy is finished in the year 2025, it will prevent up to 97% of sewer overflows from reaching area waterways. Learn More
  • Septic Tank Elimination Program - The sewer system will be extended to another 1,600 homes throughout the county that now depend on failing septic systems. By extending the sanitary sewers to areas that currently have failing septic tanks, Citizens is preventing sewage from reaching groundwater and area waterways. Learn More
  • Treatment Plant Expansion – A project to double the capacity of the Southport Sewage Treatment Plant will be completed.
In December, Citizens also reached an agreement in its request for a water rate increase. If approved by the IURC, the average residential water customer’s bill would increase $5 per month in 2016. As part of this agreement, Citizens will also create a special crisis fund for low-income water customers that will be funded with non-utility revenue.

About Citizens Energy Group

Citizens Energy Group provides safe and reliable utility services to about 800,000 people in the Indianapolis area. Citizens operates its utilities only for the benefit of customers and the community. Additional information is available online at Facebook - Twitter - LinkedIn - YouTube

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