Wednesday, April 23, 2014

IURC Approves Another 26% Sewer Rate Increase For Citizens Energy

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has granted Citizens Energy permission to hit Indianapolis sewer customers with another 26% rate hike. This is just one in a continuing succession of double-digit rate increases that have been approved by state utility regulators every one to two years in the City's water and sewer rates. The average homeowner will pay $14 a month more on top of the 9%, $3 a month raise in average water bills the IURC approved earlier this year. The corrupt members of the IURC once again scolded Citizens Energy executives for the high compensation they pay to their top executives with a wink and a nod as they signed off on the latest painful rate increase.

In the interest of transparency, I call on the management of Citizens Energy to publicly disclose how much money it is spending annually on its suites and tickets at Lucas Oil Stadium and Banker's Life Fieldhouse for all Colts and Pacers games, and other sporting and special events, along with a complete itemization of all expenditures of the sort for corporate entertaining. Since it's supposed to be a public benefit corporation, executives of Citizens Energy should be compelled to explain the justification for these lavish expenditures, including the identity of all recipients of such corporate entertaining expenditures. How can a nonprofit organization justify spending millions of dollars annually while socking the consumers it supposedly serves with continuing double-digit rate increases that are eroding the standard of living for average Indianapolis residents?  


Anonymous said...

CEO Carey Lykins earned $2.9 million in 2012 — nearly double what he made the previous year and more than triple what the leaders of other large municipal gas utilities earned. Lykins saw his compensation slashed by more than a third, to $1.9 million last year. Lykins had defended his pay, but Indiana utility regulators later grilled him in a public hearing, strongly hinting that the executive compensation was out of line.
The regulatory commission has clearly stated the multimillion-dollar salaries paid Citizens’ executives were excessive. "Citizens Water's level of executive compensation was not appropriate for a municipal utility," the agency said in a statement.
It warned last year that it expects Citizens to realign compensation in its next rate case "so that it is more compatible with actual municipal-based expenses." The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission also launched an investigation into the company's management practices, including how it runs its billing operations and call centers. The agency said that in some months, one out of four callers to the company hangs up before receiving service because of long wait times.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The IURC does a lot of chest-thumping about what they're doing to protect consumers, but at the end of the day they always wind up giving the utilities 95% of what they want.

Downtown Indy said...

Repairs traceable to the century of neglect should be paid for out of company profits, not through ratepayer increase. The corporation collected money that should have gone to repairs but didn't. We shouldn't have to bear any burden that's due to their dereliction of duty.

Gary R. Welsh said...

They've been scamming us on these sewer overflow issues for decades now. If you go back and check every time a rate or fee was increased to pay for CSOs and look at what they've actually achieved to date, you quickly figure out that they always wind up using at least half of the money for a purpose other than what it was intended.