American Suburban Utilities Stands By Rate Hike In Final Proposal To IURC

May 16, 2016

A timeline of the back-and-forth between American Suburban Utilities and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor regarding ASU's proposed rate hike.
Credit WBAA News

    

    

A rate hike requested by American Suburban Utilities is now in the hands of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

On Monday. the wastewater treatment company near West Lafayette submitted its final arguments for an increase over three years to a flat monthly residential rate of $85.18.

That’s a 79-percent increase over the current rate of $47.50, which was set in the year 2000.

Owner Scott Lods says the increase will finance environmental upgrades and expand capacity at the Carriage Estates treatment plant.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is recommending a maximum rate of $60.80 – about a third the increase ASU seeks.

OUCC spokesman Anthony Swinger says his office slightly increased its recommendation after ASU provided additional documentation.

“Invoices for pipes and other infrastructure that simply, the data had not been presented earlier in the case,” Swinger says.

Documents filed by the OUCC, as well as residents who oppose the expansion and rate hike, question the financial management and upkeep of the utility.

In its April 25 order, the OUCC excludes some of ASU’s construction costs because the utility hired a for-profit company owned by Lods to do the work.

The OUCC also rejects invoices for work in progress, and an invoice for a Cadillac Escalade luxury automobile.

In the most recent filing, ASU lawyers say the OUCC’s recommendation doesn’t allow ASU to earn a return commensurate with other comparable businesses and fails to acknowledge the need to comply with environmental regulations.

The IURC is expected to make a decision by June 30.