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Columbus City Utilities ask for rate hikes

The Columbus City Council is taking a list of proposed rate increased from Columbus City Utilities (CCU) under advisement.

Utilities Director Keith Reeves appeared before the council during its meeting on Tuesday night to discuss increases to rates, many of which have not been adjusted since 1999.

Changes being sought include:

Returned Payment Charge - $40 (currently $20); Reeves says there were 221 instances over a 12-month period. He adds that each incident costs CCU $36.87.

Non-Payment Disconnect Fee - $55 (currently $25); Reeves says that CCU dealt with 2,374 of these cases over one year.

Out for Winter Disconnect Fee - $55 (currently $10)

Disconnect for Repair - $20 (currently $10); Reeves says the utility had 23 cases over the past year. While each incident costs CCU $58.80, Reeves says the Utilities Board agreed that it doesn't want to de-incentivize needed repairs.

After-Hours Non-Emergency Work - $85 (currently $40); Reeves says there were 196 of these cases over the past year. Each incident costs CCU $85.90.

Installation of Meters in an already prepared pit - $500 (currently $218): Reeves said that CCU had 62 of these cases over the past year at a cost of $492.02.

Installation of Meters including pit and other work - $1,100 (currently $218); Reeves said that the utility installed 18 of these over the 12 months.

Mayor Kristen Brown and City Council member Frank Jerome both expressed concerns about these increases. Jerome opined that the poorest community members would suffer much financial hardship with these increases. Brown says that these increases may be tough to swallow in one implementation. She asked if it would be possible to increase rates over a set length of time. Reeves answered that any and all adjustments need to go through the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, and that the city would be better off dealing with it in one session.

In the end, Reeves says it was his job to bring the needs of the Utility to the council's attention. He noted that it is the city council's decision as to whether or not it would adapt the recommendations of the Utility Board. 

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9:06:20 PM

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