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Illinois American Water Files for Rate Increase


It's been more than two years since Illinois American Water last filed for a rate hike. Now, the company is asking state regulators for a big enough increase to generate an additional $38 million statewide.

Getting approval for a rate increase is a slow process, and Illinois American's Chris Bacon says it may be 11 months before the Illinois Commerce Commission rules on their request. Bacon says about 70% of the money they're seeking would pay for new infrastructure.

In Illinois American's Champaign District, Bacon says their latest major project not covered by the current rate structure was an upgrade to their Mattis Avenue water treatment center in Champaign.

"The U-S EPA had made some recommendations in regards to our treatment center", says Bacon. "We always had high quality water, and maintained EPA standards with our water. But they did have some suggestions for our treatment plant, to make some upgrades. And we've complied with that."

But Bacon says the larger part of the money sought for the Champaign District would pay for replacing aging water mains.

"There are a couple of areas in Pesotum (along) Oak Street and then also on Coler Street (in Urbana) that we were looking to do some basic main replacement", says Bacon. "What those projects do is help improve customer service, reliability and fire flows for our existing customers in those areas."

In the Pontiac District, Illinois American says the requested increase would pay for new fire hydrants, valves and meters, as well as new water main. A project at the water treatment plant located along the Vermilion River includes additional flood protection.

In the Champaign District, Illinois American's requested rate increase would come out to about $7.21 for the average residential customer --- that same customer in the Pontiac District would pay $7.06 a month more. Rate hikes would differ in other service areas around the state --- and the ICC might decide to approve an increase lower than what Illinois American Water has filed for.

Belleville-based Illinois American Water is a subsidiary of American Water, based in Vorhees, N.J.