Downtown steam-plant customers face steep rate increase

About 200 downtown business and industrial customers would pay an average of 12.9 percent more for steam services under a rate-increase proposal by Citizens Energy Group.

The utility said Thursday it had filed a petition for the hike with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. If the increase is approved by the IURC, it likely would go into effect by spring 2014. The impact on individual customers will vary.

Citizens requires more revenue from its steam users—predominantly large firms downtown—to help foot the bill for the conversion of downtown’s Perry K Steam Plant from coal to natural gas, the utility said.

Citizens first announced the conversion project in late 2011. The plant at Kentucky Avenue near Victory Field supplies steam to major users such as IUPUI and Lucas Oil Stadium. In warmer weather, the steam turns water chillers that cool the buildings.

The rate increase also is necessary to help pay off an existing line of credit and finance a system expansion, according to Citizens.
 

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