It is the first water rate increase for
Lincoln water customers in 8½ years. The new rates will become
effective within a week, company officials said.
In September 2002, the company proposed
a 13.68 percent increase for the Lincoln District. The requested
rate increase from the company was the same for all categories of
customers -- residential, commercial, industrial and sale-for-resale
However, the ICC rate order issued
Tuesday varies by customer classification. Under the new order,
residential users received a higher increase, at 13.68 percent, than
larger (industrial, commercial, sale-for-resale) water users.
The average residential customer's
monthly water bill (for usage of 6,000 gallons per month, including
municipal fire protection charges) will increase approximately $4.79
per month, or about 16 cents per day, raising it from $28.30 to
$33.09 per month.
According to Lincoln Operations
Superintendent Grant Evitts, the major reasons for new water rates
are the company's ongoing infrastructure replacement program and
increased operating costs, including costs associated with
heightened security since Sept. 11, 2001.
Infrastructure replacement includes
replacing and installing new water lines, service connections,
meters and hydrants and making enhancements at water treatment
pumping and storage facilities.
Evitts said new rates will also allow
the water company to continue its ongoing proactive program to
replace and update aging infrastructure. In 2001 and 2002,
Illinois-American invested $1.1 million in upgrading the water
system in the Lincoln District. Upgrades include replacing and
installing water mains, service connections, meters and hydrants and
making enhancements at water treatment, pumping and storage
facilities. Major capital improvements include a new well and well
site development, the Omaha Street water main to serve Lincoln
Christian College, a 2-inch water main replacement at Palmer and
Feldman streets, and upgrades to the district's SCADA control
system. All improvements help ensure continued reliable delivery of
water service to customers.
"We continue to make sound investments
and improvements in our water systems. Along with enhancing service,
these investments assure reliable delivery of high-quality water
today and in the future," said Northern Division Manager Kevin
[to top of second column in
He added that many communities in
Illinois and across the United States face the dilemma of aging
infrastructure in their water and wastewater systems. The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. cities will have
to spend more than $250 billion to repair drinking water systems
over the next 20 years. These costs intensify when new rules and
regulations for water quality are issued.
Hillen said that since Sept. 11, 2001,
all Illinois American Water treatment facilities and offices have
been under heightened security and will remain in that status
indefinitely. Hillen said the company continues to review and
monitor security measures to ensure the most feasible -- but
effective -- security methods are being used. Specific details of
all Illinois American security measures are confidential.
The ICC approved rate increases in all
of the company districts: Alton, Cairo, Peoria, Pekin, Lincoln,
Interurban (Belleville, East St. Louis, Granite City and surrounding
communities), Champaign, Pontiac, Streator, Sterling and the Chicago
Although the ICC's order allows the
overall increase that the company requested in the Lincoln District,
the ICC denied the company's request for recovery of deferred
security costs. Deferred costs are for those security costs
accumulated from September 2001 until the rate order was entered on
Aug. 12, 2003.
Illinois American Water
Illinois American provides reliable,
quality service to approximately 293,000 metered customers, or more
than 1 million people, in 125 Illinois communities. The company has
been providing service in Illinois for more than 100 years.
Water, a part of RWE's water division, serves 20 million customers
in 27 states, four Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico and South
America. More than 8,000 employees provide water, wastewater and
other related services. RWE's water division is the third largest
water and wastewater services company in the world.
[Illinois American Water news