WARSAW — Customers who use Indiana American Water are seeing their monthly bill rise twice in the next year.
The overall 7.9 increase is coming in two steps, including one that kicked in July, according to information provided by the utility.
The announcement came in a presentation to city council Monday night, July 15, by Chris Harrison, operation superintendent at Indiana American Water in Fort Wayne.
For a customer who uses 4,000 gallons per month, the hikes mean an overall jump from in the monthly bill of $34.84 per month to $35.87 per month.
The first hike represents a 0.96 percent increase. In May of 2020, a 6.3 percent hike will take effect, Harrison said.
Harrison said the increase comes at a time the utility is seeing a demand for improvements in infrastructure but also a declining trend in usage, some of which is the result of modern efficiencies in toilets and faucets.
Twenty years ago, the average demand by a customer was 160 gallons per day, but today it’s more like 140 gallons per day, Harrison said.
He said the utility is working to replace old infrastructure with a focus on longevity.
“You want a minimum of 75 years of life out of that water main,” Harrison said. “Will we get 100 years out of it? I hope so. And hopefully, that will refute the due diligence of what we are doing today that it’s going to surpass into the future.”
Warsaw is one of 20 communities served by the utility. About 1.2 million people rely on the water utility.
In other matters, Council voted to grant a waiver to Da-Lite Screen, which missed submitting annual paperwork to the county about tax abatement. A company spokesperson said the paperwork was somehow overlooked in the parent company’s sale.
I was concerned when I first heard that we were going to be looking at doing this, but your explanation of a merger, (from someone) who’s just gone through one, I fully understand,” said city councilman Jack Whilhite, a longtime Biomet employee who now works for Zimmer Biomet.
Council also heard reports from Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams and AcceLINX.
Indiana American Water is a private utility that serves 20 communities ranging from Muncie, Kokomo and Noblesville.
In June, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission issued an order approving the rate hikes on a statewide basis for Indiana American Water.
The rate case was filed in September f 2018 and comes after a comprehensive review process involving IURC, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and a number of other interested parties that filed as interveners in the case, and the public, American Water said in paperwork made available to the public Monday night.