Water-rate decision extended

Customers of Eastern Bartholomew Water Co. will have to wait until later this fall to learn if, and by how much, their water bills will go up.

Originally scheduled for late June, the evidentiary hearing on the Taylorsville-base utility’s proposed 48 percent rate hike has been postponed for five weeks, according to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

Arguments from attorneys representing both sides of the rate hike request will now be heard Aug. 3 in Indianapolis, the agency said.

Written testimony will be accepted through Friday on the OUCC website at IN.gov/OUCC — or by email at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov

The town of Hope, which purchases its water from Eastern Bartholomew, strongly opposed the increase after raising its own water rates in 2015 to finance a recently completed utility upgrade.

If the utility’s first request for a rate increase in nine years is approved, a household that uses 5,000 gallons a month would see its bill rise from $22.83 to $33.77, according to the petition.

The increase is necessary to offset higher operating and maintenance costs, along with the need for substantial capital improvements, the utility stated.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.