The proposed sale of the city’s water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group passed another procedural hurdle Monday.
Approval of the City-County Council’s utility transportation oversight committee by a 7-4 vote followed an OK earlier this summer from the Board of Public Works.
The full council is to vote on the sale July 26. Ultimately the deal requires approval of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, which could take months.
Mayor Greg Ballard proposed the sale as a way to generate $425 million in cash for city infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges. The city acquired the water utility in 2002 from Merrillville-based NiSource.
Indianapolis Water is managed by Veolia, a private firm that would continue to be tapped to help run the utility under Citizens, the city’s gas utility. The extent of that partnership has not yet been specified.
Currently the water utility has a 33-percent rate hike request pending before the IURC. Citing questionable oversight by the city’s waterworks board and other problems with the water utility, the state’s Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says Indianapolis Water’s rate request should be limited to 17 percent.