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Citizens: 2014 sewer bills to jump 50%, water 10%

Utility bills will take a jump next year for many who live in the Indianapolis area.

Citizens Energy Group revealed plans Thursday to request rate hikes that could soon lead to 50 percent higher sewer (wastewater) bills and 10 percent higher water bills.

The news wasn’t exactly welcome outside the Citizens Energy Customer Service Center on Thursday.

“It’s already high enough and we’ve got kids,” said Tiffany of Indianapolis.

“I’m not very excited to hear it,” said Tameka Patterson, of Indianapolis. “Everything is going up every time you look around. When is it going to end?”

According to Citizens Energy Group, the water and sewer increases aren’t going to end any time soon.

“We will be asking for rate increases on the wastewater side probably annually,” said Citizens Spokeswoman Sarah Holsapple. “On the water side, maybe on a more bi-annual basis.”

The biggest of the increases is planned for 2014. In January, Citizens customers will see their water bill jump by about 10 percent, or $3 a month on average. Wastewater bills will jump by nearly 50 percent by the end of 2014. It will begin with a $10 per month increase in January, and in October it will jump another $4 a month on average.

The water bill increase will fund water treatment improvements and system upgrades designed to cut down on the number of water  main breaks.

“They’re inconvenient for customers,” Holsapple said. “They’re inconvenient for motorists and we have about 700 water main breaks every year.”

According to Citizens, the biggest reason for the sewer hike is to clean up waterways like Fall Creek and others, which are frequently polluted by the current wastewater system. All it takes is about a quarter inch of rain before raw sewage combines with wastewater and flows into waterways.

“We can’t do that anymore,” Holsapple said. “And that costs money.”

The money is being used to construct a massive underground tunnel system that will capture raw sewage, and help the city comply with an EPA mandate. The work has already begun on the south side but it will take years to complete.

“It’s safe to say that the vast majority of that money is going to be spent on the underground tunnel system,” Holsapple said.

Though the improvements make sense to customers, it comes at a time when extra cents are hard to come by.

“I definitely want our safety to come first,” Bailey said. “I don’t want the sewage to run into the water, but I think that is a little too much (money).”

Costomers who have trouble paying their utility bill with Citizens can seek financial assistance. For more information call 317-924-3311.

16 comments

  • guest

    I think everyone needs to send a thank you note to our ex-governor for selling off our water utility to a private entity. I guess it makes him look good to show 10s of millions in available funds (due to this sale) and walk away while the citizens of this state pay for his shady deals for years to come.

  • Guest

    I've never seen a "non for profit" company have such an arrogant and disrespectful PR person. Knowing the rediculious water and sewer bills after CEG took over, you would think you could come across with a little sincerity and not just act like, "we're the monopoly here, so deal with it!"

  • Ken S.

    Greed will be the failure of this country. These utilities have a way of getting around the Utility Commission by budget projections. As an example, if you budget yourself a 300% increased budget for 2013 and your increase was only 250%, then you lost money for the year. It's an old trick that's been played out for years. Haven't you ever wondered why the utility companies have the best of trucks and equipment? Think about it. A public utility's should not be the one setting their own budget. That's like giving them a blank check. I'm sure someone will comment saying "no you're wrong" or "you don't have a clue". But I've sat on enough Commissions to know how it works.

  • Brian

    As Obama talkes about raising the minimum wage, utilities already got their hands out even before (if ever) they get a raise. Citizens needs to overhaul management if they can't balance the books not price GAUGE hoosiers who are already struggling

  • Guest

    Did anyone else notice that the "Summer Sewer fee" disappeared when the combined bills came out but the total sewer amount stayed about the same as a combined line item (summer sewer fee plus sewer fee)…

  • Peter

    I'm not happy about the rate increase, but I know what it's like to carry water and not have a sewer working, so we'll have to pay. Some people may have to eliminate cable, which really IS NOT a necessity!

  • Da Bodysnatcher

    The earth is 80% covered with water and they charge us for this! MONOPOLY I want to get my water from somewhere else!

  • Tia

    See this is why i get pissed about—-Everything going up but our PAY is not really! And water is all around us yet we have to pay more and more for it. and some of us already omit bills like cable! Looks like we need another water service! Everyones getting greedy i want more and more and more. God help us all!

  • Reader5

    I wish we all could afford to move to another state & leave our politcions with a dead city with no one to pay there salary.I know that can'nt happen so we all here to keep being screwed.

  • Patti

    I am now down to having to cut out all charitable giving, and am about to give up my internet and land line. I have to sometimes chose between fresh fruit/veggies and gas for the car or paying the electric bill. My annual raises are less than the annual rate of inflation. Thanks to the president's and congress's help for the middle class, I now bring home nearly $100 less per month in my paycheck. Next, I imagine I'll be letting my house be foreclosed on even though I probably couldn't find an apartment for less than what I pay for my mortgage.

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