Bloomington’s planned case for water rate increase delayed until early 2021

The average for each day from 2012 to 2019 is plotted in gray. For 2020, plotted in blue, the data have been smoothed out by calculating a 7-day rolling average.

One dollar is enough to make around 300 gallons of pour out of any residential faucet that’s hooked up to City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) water.

The residential price of $3.69 per 1,000 gallons, like the rest of the city’s water rates, will stay in place for a while longer.

That bit of news was delivered by CBU director Vic Kelson at last Thursday night’s city council budget hearings. Kelson told the city council that before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, CBU had planned to bring a rate review to the city council in July this year.

Kelson said the current plan is to bring a rate increase proposal to the city council sometime in the first three months of 2021. It will also be reviewed by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). Any approved water-rate changes would be implemented a year later, in early 2022.

CBU’s total proposed 2021 budget is about $43.3 million, which is made up of water ($17.7 million), sewer ($22.8 million), and stormwater ($3.1 million). That reflects and overall drop of 7 percent compared to 2020.

Continue reading “Bloomington’s planned case for water rate increase delayed until early 2021”

Monroe County councilor calls on public to give feedback on possible 19-percent Duke Energy rate increase

At Tuesday night’s regular meeting of Monroe County’s council, the seven-member group got a request for an extra $80,500 to pay for utilities at five county buildings. The extra expenditure was needed because of inaccurate estimates of usage, not the planned electric rate increase by Duke Energy.

But the extra appropriation led to a quick discussion of a current proposal by Duke Energy to raise its residential electric rates by around 19 percent.

County councilor Eric Spoonmore told Angie Purdie, administer for the board of commissioners, he was glad she’d mentioned the rate case that’s now going through the regulatory process. He encouraged residents of Monroe County to make their voices heard on the matter.

Based on the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) summary of the Duke Energy proposal, Duke wants to increase annual operating revenues by $395 million, which is an rise of about 15.5 percent—after the proposed two-stage implementation is done, in 2020 and 2021.

How much would more would Duke Energy’s 840,000 customers in 69 Indiana counties pay? According to OUCC, Duke Energy’s request would raise a monthly residential electric bill for 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) from $120.30 to $142.95. That’s 18.8 percent more. Continue reading “Monroe County councilor calls on public to give feedback on possible 19-percent Duke Energy rate increase”

2019 on pace to be a big year for Bloomington water main breaks

Not counting any of the half dozen water main breaks in July, the city of Bloomington has tallied 44 breaks so far in 2019.

Is that a big number? Yes, based on the number of breaks over the last six years that are logged in the dataset posted on the city’s B-Clear data portal.

Cropped busted pipe IMG_9574
The broken water main from the intersection of Kirkwood Avenue and Washington Street  lay on the pavement Monday morning. July 22, 2019 (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The 44 breaks in 2019 so far, through the first six months of the year, are at least 12 more breaks (37 percent more) than in the first half of any of the last six years. So this year looks like it could be on course to match or exceed the 88 breaks tallied in 2016, which is the biggest number for a whole year since 2013.

Causes for breaks recorded in the dataset include ground movement, defect in the pipe, improper bedding, a contractor, temperature changes, and water hammer, among others. Water hammer is a sudden increase in pressure caused when the momentum of all the water flowing in a pipe is brought to a sudden stop.

A dramatic water main break last Sunday, at the busy four-way stop at Kirkwood Avenue and Washington Street downtown, put Bloomington’s drinking water pipes in the news. Continue reading “2019 on pace to be a big year for Bloomington water main breaks”