Customer Letter – September 18, 2015
Dear American Suburban Utilities Customers,
On behalf of American Suburban Utilities, it is our privilege to provide you with your waste water utility service. Our top priorities are your safety and serving as a responsible custodian of the environment.
While your sewer rate has remained the same for the past 15 years with the last rate increase happening in 2000, recent federal and state mandates will necessitate a rate increase we are choosing to phase in to minimize the financial impact to you.
Although your bill will not increase until next July, in our ongoing effort to provide you with the best possible customer service, we are communicating this information now to give you plenty of notice and explain the reasons behind the increase and the benefits of an upgraded plant.
Your current monthly residential bill is $47.50. Residents’ bills will increase $12 beginning in July 2016, followed by $14 in January of 2017 and $20 in June of 2018. These increases are subject to review and approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). Mobile Home, Multiple Family or other non-residential customers can learn more about the proposed impact to their bills by contacting us at 765-463-3856.
We are doing everything possible to keep the rate increase as low as we can while adhering to the federal and state mandates we are required to follow. Our rate increase is below the rate of inflation since rates were last approved more than 15 years ago. If your rate had increased simply with the Consumer Price Index, the final rate would be almost $10 more than we are proposing.
American Suburban Utilities recognizes the rate increase being sought is significant. A plant expansion, phosphorus removal and equipment replacement are needed immediately in order to serve our existing customer base. While the degree of expansion has been debated, we know that much of the capacity provided by the new plant is needed to serve future customers. To lessen the impact on you, our current customer, we are only including approximately half of the cost of the plant expansion in rates in this case.
As a customer, you do not have to pay for new developments on the system. Builders pay a system development charge of $975 for every new utility connection. In addition, as the owner of American Suburban Utilities, I am personally sharing in the cost of the plant upgrade by absorbing the difference between the cost of the upgrade and what the IURC approves.
The Carriage Estates treatment plant must be upgraded to meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations (the EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are requiring discharge water regulations to protect human health and enhance water quality).
The upgrade to the plant utilizing enhanced technology involving noise reduction is projected to last the community 20 years.
In addition, other infrastructure improvements will take place, including the relocation of the Klondike Road sewer main and the installation of the Big 3 sewer main.
Unfortunately, there are no other options to fund the plant upgrade. No federal or state grants are available. It is not possible to connect to the City of West Lafayette’s sewer system because the cost of transporting wastewater plus the increase to their treatment plant would make your rates significantly higher than if we just upgraded our current plant. Relocating the plant closer to the Wabash River is cost prohibitive and would result in a greater rate increase which we are unwilling to do to you, our customer.
If you have any questions, we want to hear from you! Please contact our office at 765-463-3856 or you can find helpful information on our Web site: www.asutilities.com
As our customer, you are our most valuable asset. Thank you for your business. Your continued confidence in the safety and high quality of our utility services along with our role in protecting the environment remain our primary goals.
Scott L. Lods, President