CLINTON — Iowa American Water Co. officials have announced they are formally seeking a rate increase that, if approved, would affect the company’s Clinton customers.

The company on Thursday afternoon filed its request with the Iowa Utilities Board, which will make the final determination concerning the hike. The company is seeking an overall 26.71 percent increase to be collected from the 10,000 customers in the company’s Clinton district.

Company officials estimate the average residential customer’s bill will increase about $5.97 per month, or 20 cents per day, to about $26.79 per month. That figure is based on 4,500 gallons of water use per month.

Rate increases also will affect commercial, industrial and public authorities.

General Manager Brock Earnhardt told the Herald on Thursday it has been more than six years since the company raised customer rates.

Since that time, Iowa American Water has invested almost $28 million in water system improvements throughout the state in its two operating districts in Clinton and the Iowa Quad-Cities, he said. More than $4 million of that amount was invested in Clinton, he said.

Earnhardt notes any change in water rates will become effective only after a thorough analysis and review by the Iowa Utilities Board, a process that will take up to 10 months and includes opportunities for formal public and customer input. He said a public hearing will take place in Clinton; a date has yet to be set for that hearing.

In the meantime, the company will seek an interim hike of about 21 percent.

If the full request amount is approved by the board, then the bill will be raised from the interim amount to the total amount requested.

However, if the full amount request is denied, the interim hike would be refunded to customers. The interim increase is to go into effect anywhere from 30 to 90 days from now.

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