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Public no-show at hearing


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Not one person showed up to comment on a proposed water rate increase that would affect thousands of Johnson County residents.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the state board that will consider a request to raise Indiana American Water rates, hosted a public hearing at Franklin Community High School on Tuesday night.

No one came to speak or listen to a planned information session outlining the process for rate changes. The proposed rate increase would be $2.45 a month for most consumers using 5,000 gallons a month, according to a news release from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the state organization that represents consumers in rate increase requests.

Typically most public hearings will draw a few residents, but it’s not unheard of for no one to show up, said Anthony Swinger, director of external affairs for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

The lack of people at the public hearing will not affect greatly the utility regulatory commission’s decision on how much the rate can increase. The commission also will weigh written comments, along with information from a legal review of the proposed rate increase, Swinger said. About 50 people have sent in written comments on the proposed rate increase, with almost all of those coming from residents in northwest Indiana, Swinger said. The proposed rate change would increase water bills for consumers in Lake and Porter counties by about $5.84 per month, according to a news release from Indiana American Water.

Written comments on the proposed rate hike will be accepted through April 25. Those wishing to submit written comments can visit www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm; send comments by email to uccinfo@oucc.in.gov; or by mail to Consumer Services Staff, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

The office of utility consumer counselor expects to complete its review and give an opinion on the rate increase on May 2.

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