MOORESVILLE, Ind. — Not all utilities in Indiana are under the jurisdiction of state regulators.
Walter and Inge Worley, who live in Bethany Park just south of Mooresville, have learned that the hard way after they recently saw a 60-percent jump in their water bill without any warning whatsoever.
The Worleys are provided with water through the company Hill Water.
“I went to Hill Water. I was not very happy, and I pretty much chewed them out,” said Inge Worley on WISH-TV.
She and her husband are disabled and on a fixed income, so any increase to their expenses can be tricky to navigate. For years their water will with Hill Water has been around $30 or less a month. Then one day, they say it shot up significantly and they had no idea it was coming.
“I called the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, and they are not under their jurisdiction anymore since 1995,” Inge Worley said. “So they pretty much have the monopoly and they can do whatever they want to, whatever the board decides they will do.”
Under state law, utilities have the option to opt out of jurisdiction under the IURC, just as long as they abide by certain state guidelines. Hill Water, which is a member-owned company, did that 25 years ago, which means they don’t have to hold public hearings or ask for permission to raise their utility rates.
Hill Water has not said publicly why they have decided to raise water rates.
“I always thought that the state regulatory commission on utilities was overall utilities, not just those that pick and choose,” said Walter Worley, who also serves as Bethany Park’s town board president.
Hill Water’s website does have plans outlined for a new water treatment plant that they are looking to build. They still need state approval to build that plant. It’s expected that the rate increase may be to cover some of those construction costs.
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