American Water rate hike could be coming down the pipes

Leaders with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission still have to approve the rate agreement. A hearing is scheduled for April 11th.

Posted: Mar 20, 2019 3:48 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2019 6:43 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Nobody ever wants their bills to go up, but that could be the case for Indiana American Water Customers. The company made the announcement earlier this week.

If the rate increase is approved, customers would see a nearly 8% spike in their bill. For a customer who uses 4,000 gallons a month, that comes to more than $2 more a month. It might not sound like much, but it could be for folks like Sherry Riggs.

A photo showing an Indiana American Water Facility. (WTHI Photo)

News 10 spoke with Sherry Riggs, who's one of the 1.3 million Indiana American Water customers across the state. Riggs says she was not happy to hear about the possible increase.

She shares, "It's very disappointing and disheartening. Scary."

The increase would come in two parts. The first step would happen this summer at around 1.7%. As for the second increase, it'd take place in mid-2020 at a hair over 6% percent.

Riggs says she's dreading the possible price bump for a special reason.

She explains, "Because I'm on a fixed income. It's not a good thing for me." Riggs currently pays $37 a month for her bill.

Unfortunately, Riggs isn't the only one facing this type of challenge with bills. She says friends of hers would also be in a similar situation.

The question many are having is how is the company justifying this rate hike?

The company says it has a quote, "Made significant investments in aging infrastructure over the last several years." A release from the company goes on to say it's made these investments while holding "operating and maintenance expenses relatively flat."

The company says it's invested more than $542 million into its water systems across Indiana. Riggs says she's frustrated to hear about that kind of spending at customers' expense.

She says, "It just seems to keep going up and up and up. Maybe they are making improvements, but as a consumer, I can't see it."

Leaders with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission still have to approve the rate agreement. A hearing is scheduled for April 11th.

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