Sep 07, 2007

Illinois American Water Wants 6 Percent Rate Increase

Homer Glen and Orland Hills residents who already complain about high water rates soon may paying even more to keep the water flowing. For the first time in five years, Illinois American Water has filed a request to raise water rates 6 percent.

On Friday, the private utility company filed the request asking the Illinois Commerce Commission to review a potential increase. The increase would amount to $2.73 a month for average customers using 6,000 gallons of water per month, said Kevin Hillen, Illinois American network operations manager.

"Our rates are based on the actual cost of providing water service to our customers," Hillen said.

"The price our customers pay also reflects the investment our company has made in the water system to assures high-quality water and reliable service."
Hillen said the increase is needed in part because Illinois American has invested more than $31 million in utility infrastructure in the area since 2003.

The investments include radio-read meters, water and sewer main replacements and wastewater treatment facility upgrades, Hillen said.

"We know the cost of Lake Michigan water is high in Chicago Metro, and our team worked hard and was successful in minimizing the increase of water rates while dropping wastewater rates," Hillen said. "The role of the ICC is to fully review our request and then decide if the increase is reasonable and justified based on the facts."

That process could take about 11 months, he said.