Metro-East News

Get ready to pay more for water. Illinois American bills going up.

People who receive their water through the Illinois American Water can expect to see their bills go up next year.

The typical residential water customer who uses 4,500 gallons of water a month will see a $3.54 increase in their bills, or about 12 cents a day, Illinois American Water said.

“Periodic rate adjustments allow us to continue making critical investments in water plants, pumps and pipelines that help to enhance quality, service reliability and fire protection for customers,” said Mike Smyth, vice president of operations for Illinois American Water. “Reliable water service is essential to everyday life and a community’s strong economy.”

Typical monthly bills for residential customers are estimated to be $46.38. However that figure does not include fire protection charges, municipal taxes and franchise fees, which vary by community, Illinois American said.

The new rates go into effect on Jan. 1. The last time there was a change in rates was in 2012.

The new rates this week were set after an 11-month Illinois Commerce Commission review. The rate request was filed in January. Rates for the water utility are based on costs of providing water and sewer service and have to be approved by the ICC.

With the new rates, the company is expected to bring in $35.3 million a year more. However, the utility company had asked to increase its revenue by as much as $49.5 million.

“The Commission determined certain expenses the company proposed to recover through consumer rate increases were too high and should be reduced, and (the) order reflects major reductions to the company’s cost of capital, deferred income tax expense and incentive compensation, among others,” the ICC said.

Included in Illinois American’s rate change request was about $342 million in infrastructure investments across Illinois, including approximately $88 million in the metro east. The infrastructure upgrades were not previously reflected in rates.

In recent years the Illinois American has upgraded raw water intake piping systems in East St. Louis and Granite City in order to ensure reliability, the utility said.

A new 1 million gallon elevated storage tank in East St. Louis also has been added to provide storage and enhance water pressure.

The company also has built a new raw water pretreatment facility to remove sand and other heavy debris from the river water.