CLINTON — Iowa American Water filed an application Thursday with the Iowa Utilities Board requesting a $17 per month increase in rates for a typical residential customer in Clinton.

According to a press release, the proposed increase in annual revenue applicable to the Clinton district will be approximately $2,858,009 or 62.85 percent.

The company’s request would bring a typical monthly residential water bill in the Clinton district, using 4,500 gallons per month, to approximately $41.78, keeping the cost of water service for most local households about a penny per gallon.

Since the last increase request in 2007, Iowa American Water has invested $10.5 million in the Clinton water treatment and delivery system.

“Well, the amount of investment we put in the last two years is the leading cause of the rate increase we’re requesting in the Clinton district.

“Two of the construction projects are the largest construction projects we’ve ever had in the Clinton district,” said Charlie Jones, director of operations for Iowa American Water.

Those two construction projects refer to the $4.9 million to construct a new water treatment facility in Clinton County, which started producing water Wednesday, and another $3 million investment for relocation of water mains associated with the U.S. 30 Improvement Project. According to an Iowa American Water press release, this 3.5 million gallon per day facility will increase production capacity and improve system reliability.

“Both of those are required to meet quality water regulations and to improve our capacity to produce water needed to construct the new plant. And the water main relocation is required by the Iowa Department of Transportation with the improvements going on with Highway 30,” he said.

The proposed effective date for the increase would be May 30, but Jones said the Iowa Utilities Board will likely suspend the rules because this will not be enough time for a full discovery of what the level of rates should be. David Hanson, operations superintendent, said the earliest residents will see an increase in interim rates would be the end of July. The final ruling will come in February 2010 from the Iowa Utilities Board. If the interim rates, which were determined in July, were set too high, then that amount will be refunded with interest to customers with the final ruling in February.

“We don’t like rate increases either but to continue to provide the water quality that our customers have come to expect and our company is going to produce for them, it’s necessary for us to have an increase in rates,” said Jones.

Jones said Iowa American Water does offer programs for those who are feeling the pinch during these tough economic times, including Project H2O, which is a utility assistance program for customers, and leak detection kits to help homeowners find hidden leaks, reduce their usage and ultimately lower their bills.

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