Regulation and Greenfield and Hancock County and Sewer and Regional News and Energy & Environment and Water and Utilities

Sugar Creek Utility Co. seeks rate relief

November 17, 2008
Sugar Creek Utility Co. wants the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to grant it rate relief for the 84-lot manufactured housing community Riley Village.

It's part of a larger dispute over whether the utility should bill the community's residents individually or through their homeowners' association, as it does now.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor contends that the current billing arrangement has put the homeowners' association under strain, saying the association is shouldering the burden of more than $47,000 in unpaid water and sewer bills.

The association wants the utility to install water shut-off valves to individual lots of the Greenfield development and says it is considering disbanding because its treasury is in the red.

The demise of the association would also have implications for other essential services it provides residents, such as road maintenance and snow removal, the OUCC said in a filing with the commission

Attorneys for Sugar Creek responded that if the utility must handle billing, the only way to deal with non-paying customers is to re-engineer the water infrastructure with shut-off valves, "which could require tearing down or relocating each home or other extensive property disruption," or, "to supply water for free to non-paying customers because the system Sugar Creek acquired out of bankruptcy was not constructed to allow for individual disconnections."

The IURC has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 17 over Sugar Creek's request for a rate case.
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