UTILITY TRANSFER: IURC Approves Transfer of Indy?s Water, Wastewater Utilities to Citizens Energy Group

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Carey Lykins, President & CEO of Citizens Energy Group, praised the July 13 approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) of the transfer of the community?s water and wastewater utilities to Citizens. The approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) is a significant step toward ensuring well-managed and affordable utilities while providing at least $425 million in funding to make unprecedented investments through Mayor Ballard?s RebuildIndy program.

The program includes the construction of the Deep Rock Tunnel Connector, a $250-300 million, 7-mile CSO abatement tunnel planned to go online in 2017. The Deep Rock Tunnel Connector is part of Indianapolis? larger $1.7 billion long-term control plan.

?I thank the IURC for its historic decision to place our community?s water and wastewater utilities in the capable hands of Citizens, our not-for-profit public charitable trust with a 124-year reputation for customer satisfaction and operational excellence,? said Mayor Ballard. ?The stage is now set for the City to make unprecedented investments in our community that will help to improve quality of life for decades to come.?
Lykins called the IURC?s decision ?an historic opportunity for Citizens to expand the promise of the public charitable trust to add value to the community through safe, affordable utility services.?

Over the next six weeks, the City and Citizens will take steps to finalize the necessary documents to close the transaction. Once the transaction is finalized, Citizens will assume responsibility for the water and wastewater utilities. Citizens has offered positions to nearly all the employees of Veolia Water Indianapolis, the current operator of the water utility. Citizens has agreed to assume the City?s contract with United Water to operate the wastewater system.

For the past several months, Citizens has been engaged in careful utility integration planning.

?The focus of our integration planning is to ensure safe and reliable service, with a seamless transition for customers. Initially, the most noticeable change will be the name Citizens Water on customers? water and sewer bills and on company vehicles and facilities. We are planning other gradual improvements to customer service over the next two years as we work to achieve annual savings available by combining the five utilities in our nonprofit, charitable trust structure,? Lykins said.

In March 2010, Mayor Ballard and Citizens announced the plan to transfer the water and wastewater systems to Citizens. The transfer is expected to result in as much as $60 million in annual savings and to deliver a 25 percent reduction in projected water and wastewater rate increases by the year 2025. The City plans to utilize the proceeds from the utility transfer to make infrastructure improvements in parks, repair bridges, streets and sidewalks, and demolish unsalvageable abandoned homes.

More information about the utility transfer plan and a copy of the IURC order may be accessed at www.indy.gov/utilities.

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