AARP Eye Center
By Mattie Perry-Lightfoot, AARP Indiana Executive Council volunteer
On Thursday July 6, I attended a hearing in Gary, In. for Indiana American Water’s (IAW) request for a rate increase.
IAW is asking for a 31% rate hike in three phrases: 12% in June 2024, 8% in April 2024 and 9.5% in April 2025. The utility is asking for this rate increase for numerous infrastructure improvements in Winchester, Sheridan, West Lafayette, and Northwest Indiana. Indiana Water Customers are finding themselves facing an increase that can cost them an additional $14 a month under this proposed increase.
I have never provided public testimony at a rate increase hearing before, and I was both excited and nervous. The room was full for the hearing and all the people who spoke had to sign in and be sworn in by a local judge. I was the second person to speak and while I was nervous, it was important for myself and others in our community to speak out on these proposed increases. AARP Indiana volunteers not only showed up and testified on why Indiana American Water should not receive such a high increase, but also wrote to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) that represents the public in commission cases and facilitates public participation in these hearings.
Hoosiers must let Indiana American Water, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), and other utility companies know our concerns. Volunteers speak for older customers that are not able to speak for themselves. These companies seem to forget that most of Gary, Indiana consists of older residents that are on fixed income and cannot afford this increase.
About Mattie Perry-Lightfoot
Mattie Perry-Lightfoot started volunteering with AARP Indiana in 2018. Prior to retirement, Mattie was a career public servant in both Indianapolis and Northwest Indiana. Since 2018, Mattie has championed various causes with AARP Indiana, including volunteerism with the organization’s Legislative Team. Mattie leads AARP Indiana’s Team Gary.