TAYLORSVILLE — State regulators will continue to oversee Eastern Bartholomew Water Corp.
More than 200 of the utility’s over 5,000 customers who attended a meeting Thursday were asked to vote on whether they wanted the utility to opt out of the jurisdiction of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
The majority cast their ballots in favor of opting out of the IURC jurisdiction, Eastern Bartholomew Water attorney Peter King said in a prepared statement.
However, it was necessary that 4% of all customers, which amounts to approximately 300 individuals, show up at Taylorsville Elementary School to vote for the question.
“The statutory requirement of a quorum of customers/members was not present,” King stated. “Therefore, Eastern Bartholomew Water Corp. will remain under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.”
Neither King nor high-ranking utility officers could be reached Friday to provide a precise vote count.
Eastern Bartholomew officials have said if customers are unhappy, they can vote out current board members during the utility’s annual meeting in April.
But one person who voted against opting out was Monica Luehrmann, who resides near Hartsville.
“We have no other place to get our water, so we are stuck with whatever rate the board approves,” Luehrmann said. “Since there is no competition, that means the only way to keep rates down is for the state to put their thumb down on the board. That’s our only oversight and our only way to have any power.”
One group that voted in favor of opting out of the commission’s jurisdiction was the Hope Town Council. The council’s decision was made last week came after Hope Utilities Superintendent David Clouse reported he had studied the matter thoroughly, town manager Jason Eckart said.
Clouse and the council felt there was a better probability of lower rates for customers if Eastern Bartholomew didn’t have to spend money and time preparing for a rate case that they claim will cost the utility $24,500 a year on average during a typical five-year rate period.
For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.
TAYLORSVILLE — Eastern Bartholomew Water Corp. will remain under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Utility Regulator Commission as a statutory requirement of a quorum was not met at Thursday night’s meeting.
Of those who voted at the meeting Thursday, a majority of those present voted to opt out of the jurisdiction of the commission. But since the legal requirements of a quorum were not met, the utility remains under the jurisdiction of the commision.
For more on the this story, see Saturday’s Republic.