Water & Wastewater System Transfer to Citizens Energy Group
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Overview

After more than 60 meetings with the general public, businesses, employees, and community, faith, and union leaders, Mayor Ballard's proposal to transfer the water and wastewater systems to Citizens Energy Group was approved by the City-County Council on July 26, 2010. The proposal is currently being reviewed by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), a state agency.

If approved by the IURC, these many benefits of the proposal will begin to be realized:

  • Local Control of Our Utility Assets for Community Benefit. This proposal rejects private ownership and its emphasis on payments to shareholders. Citizens is a public charitable trust that will operate our vital water and wastewater utilities like a not-for-profit and only for the benefit of the community. Transferring the water and wastewater systems to Citizens will forever protect them from sale to another entity.
  • Depoliticizes Utilities. This proposal removes partisan politics from the management of the utilities. Transferring our water and wastewater systems to Citizens ensures the utilities are operated by trusted, professional utility operator with oversight by professional utility regulators. Partisan political control of our utilities has failed our community, and we must have the courage to fix the problems by putting these assets in the capable hands of Citizens Energy Group.
  • Better Service & Operational Excellence. Citizens is an industry leader for customer satisfaction and operational excellence as documented by independent organizations such as J.D. Power & Associates. Citizens will apply the same high standards of excellence to the water and wastewater systems.
  • Rates 25% Lower than Currently Projected. Transferring the water and wastewater systems will ensure a 25 percent smaller rate increase than currently projected. Make no mistake, water and wastewater rates will be going up significantly over the next 15 years to pay for mandated system improvements, but Citizens gives us the best opportunity to maximize efficiencies and achieve savings. Citizens will hold down rate increases with more than $60 million in annual savings available by combining the utilities. Savings will be achieved without layoffs. Over the next 30 years, the transfer will save ratepayers nearly $1.5 billion. Ensuring smaller rate increases is vital to the growing numbers of low-income residents and fixed income seniors struggling to pay bills. More predictable and competitive utility rates also are vital to long-term economic development.
  • Clean, High Quality Drinking Water & Cleaner Rivers & Streams. Citizens will ensure the proper investments are made in our water and wastewater systems. Citizens will make a reliable supply of safe, high quality drinking water its highest priority. It also will ensure completion of the combined sewer overflow (CSO) project mandated by the federal consent decree and completion of the current septic tank elimination program (STEP). These projects will minimize the discharge of raw sewage into area rivers and streams.
  • Commitment to Diversity & Community Investment Remains Strong. Citizens has a strong record with respect to the diversity of its workforce and in the hiring of minority, women and veteran-owned contractors for company business. Citizens will ensure that its commitment to community investment and philanthropy will remain strong.
  • Rebuilding our City Without Raising Taxes. The utility transfer will provide the City at least $425 million to fix streets, sidewalks and bridges, and to take down abandoned homes. This plan provides the City with fair market value for its utility assets, while utilizing a small portion of future savings to fund badly needed improvements in City infrastructure. This funding will make a significant dent in the more than $1.5 billion backlog of improvements to streets, bridges and sidewalks. Fixing crumbling infrastructure will have a tremendous lasting impact on quality of life in Indianapolis, while creating more than 10,000 high paying jobs during this very difficult recession. Mayor Ballard also believes taxes are already high enough and raising taxes in the midst of the deepest recession since the 1930s would be disastrous to Marion County families and our local economy.

Recent Press Releases on Utility Transfer:

01/14/2011 OUCC Recommends Approval on Certain Conditions
12/22/2010 State Taking Public Comment on Mayor's Proposal to Transfer Water & Wastewater Systems to Citizens Energy Group

More Water & Wastewater System Transfer to Citizens Energy Group Press Releases...

 

Key Documents

IURC Proceeding

To access the documents filed with the IURC, log on to the IURC’s Electronic Document System (EDS). Once you access the EDS, click the Cases link. In the Docket Number field, type the number 43936 and click the Search button. Then, click the Filings\Docket Entries button.

Utility Transfer Document Library

On May 14, 2010, Mayor Ballard announced that more than 500 documents, including contracts, presentations, videos, and more, all relating to the utility transfer were available on an FTP site. To access that FTP site visit: ftp://ftp.indygov.org/utilities (Username: public; Password: public)

Request for Expression of Interest (REI)

On July 21, 2009, Mayor Ballard released the REI to seek creative solutions to infrastructure challenges facing our city. This was the first major step forward in the process that led to the decision to transfer the utilities to Citizens.