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Cleaner water, higher bills

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Citizens Energy Group's 2012 annual report.
  • Citizens Energy Group's 2012 annual report.
Editor's note: The news desk on Thursday received the following news release from Citizens Energy Group:

Citizens Seeks Water and Wastewater Rate Increases

Increases necessary to clean up rivers and streams, make system improvements

INDIANAPOLIS– Citizens Energy Group today filed a petition with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) seeking increases in water and wastewater rates. If approved, residential customers would notice the following impacts on their bills starting on or after January 1, 2014.

Water bills will rise approximately $3 per month, from $31 to $34.

Wastewater bills will rise approximately $10 per month, from $30 to $40, and another $4 per month, from $40 to $44, starting on or after October 1, 2014.

"In order to continue investing in projects that remove raw sewage from our rivers and streams and that improve the quality of our drinking water, rate increases are necessary," said Carey Lykins, President and CEO of Citizens Energy Group.

Vital Investment Plans

The rate increases are necessary to fund nearly $560 million in system improvements between 2014 and 2015. Many of these improvements are mandated by the federal government.

Water System: Nearly $114 million is required to improve the water system by making updates that will prevent water main breaks, improve system flow and enhance the water treatment plants.

Wastewater System:Nearly $444 million is required to improve the wastewater system by constructing an underground tunnel system that will capture raw sewage, expanding wastewater treatment plants and by continuing the Septic Tank Elimination Program (STEP) to reduce dangerous E-coli bacteria from seeping into neighborhood ditches and intogroundwater.

"Investing in our utility infrastructure, cleaning up our rivers and streams and eliminating failing septic systems, will position Indianapolis as a city that creates jobs and attracts news businesses and residents," said Lykins.

In addition, increasing rates to more closely match investments in the systems will enable Citizens to reduce the issuance of debt, thus lowering interest costs to produce future savings for customers. By combining the water, wastewater, gas, steam and chilled water utilities, Citizens has achieved more than $112 million in annual savings. These savings will help keep rates lower than they otherwise would have been had the utilities remained with the City of Indianapolis.

Increasing Financial Assistance

From October 2012 to January 2013, approximately 20,000 Citizens customers received about $1.5 million in financial assistance on their utility bill. This compares to the 25,000 customers Citizens helped during the entire 2012 fiscal year. If customers need assistance paying their utility bill or have questions about future rate increases, please call317-924-3311. For more information about Citizens' commitment to clean water, please visitIndyCleanWater.com.

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About Citizens Energy Group

Citizens Energy Group is a Public Charitable Trust providing safe and reliable utility services to more than 400,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Indianapolis area. The Public Charitable Trust means its utilities are managed only for the benefit of customers and the community. Additional information is available online atwww.CitizensEnergyGroup.com-Facebook-Twitter-YouTube

* * * Citizens has a section of its website dedicated to explaining the Consent Decree requiring Indy to clean up its waterways and the projects the utility has undertaken in response. a breakdown on the efforts to clean Indy's water. Check out: http://www.citizensenergygroup.com/CleanWater.aspx.

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