Utility Regulation and Rates
Are all utilities under the jurisdiction of the IURC?
No, Indiana Code 8-1.5-3-9 allows municipally-owned utilities to withdraw from IURC jurisdiction upon a vote by the municipal legislative body. Also, I.C. 8-1-2.7 allows non-profit and small investor-owned water and sewer utilities to opt out of IURC jurisdiction. Once a utility is outside of the IURC’s jurisdiction, the agency no longer oversees its rates and charges or rules and regulations.
How are rates determined?
The ratemaking and regulatory process begins when a utility files a petition with the IURC requesting new rates and charges. The utility must inform its customers of the pending rate case within 45 days of the filing date. Once the petition is processed, it receives a docket number and is assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). From there, it proceeds through a standardized process that is detailed below.
Prehearing conference – A public hearing where filing and hearing dates are determined.
Utility pre-filing – The utility's case-in-chief, which generally includes the written testimony of the utility’s witnesses, as well as supporting documentation for such testimony.
Field hearing – A public hearing in the utility’s largest service territory that allows customers to speak directly to the Commission. Participation in field hearings is highly encouraged and considered before the Commission reaches a decision.
Public and intervenors’ pre-filing – The cases-in-chief of the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) and any other intervening party.
Rebuttal – Evidence refuting previous testimony.
Evidentiary hearing – A public hearing where the petitioner, the OUCC, and the intervenors present their evidence and cross-examine witnesses.
Settlement hearing – A public hearing where the various parties to the case present the terms of a negotiated settlement agreement to the Commission for consideration. Settlements must generally be reached before the last evidentiary hearing.
Proposed orders – Final filings submitted by each party stating its position, as well as its recommendations for the final order.