SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN)- The last of three public hearings concerning Vectren’s proposed rate increase was held in Sidney Wednesday evening. Hosted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the hearing gave an opportunity for people to speak out on possible rate hikes.
Longtime Sidney resident John Laws testified against the raise at the hearing.
“A lot of people are on fixed incomes. They’re struggling now. They can’t pay their bills. I try to pay all my bills. We use less gas. We try to put a sweater on when we’re around the house,” Laws said.
After initially hearing about the increase, he spent time doing the math on his bills.
“My monthly gas runs roughly $28 average over the year. I have a bill right here with me that’s only $18.30,” Laws said. He’s concerned those numbers may jump if the PUCO approves Vectren’s proposal.
According to a staff report from the PUCO, the gas company currently has a fixed monthly charge of about $18 a month. Vectren wants to increase that rate to $35. The PUCO staff report recommends scaling it back to $30.
Vectren is also asking for an increase on its usage charges. It proposes an increase of $7 for every 100 cubic feet of gas customers use. PUCO staff recommend that increase be closer to $2.50.
“It’s been since 2017 that Vectren’s has had a rate increase. In that time frame, we have invested over $700 million in infrastructure improvements,” Colleen Ryan, president of Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio said.
Ryan said the increase would allow for even more improvements.
While the staff report recommends some adjustments to Vectren’s proposal, the PUCO commissioners have final say on what, if any, the increase would be. Commissioners will hold an evidentiary hearing with Vectren in Columbus on Dec. 4.