- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Illinois American Water has filed a request for an 18 percent statewide rate increase for all of the water and sewer company’s operating districts in Illinois.

The request filed Thursday with the Illinois Commerce Commission would increase the average company customer’s base water and sewer service rate by $7.57 per month, from $41.57 to $49.14. The proposed increase is pending approval by the commission, which will take public input on the proposal.

Company spokeswoman Karen Cotton said the commission’s decision won’t come until the end of this year.

“We will also be mailing out information - it’s a very transparent process that is set up for the public’s protection,” Cotton said. Rates wouldn’t change until January 2017.

The company said the requested rate increase in driven by investments in infrastructure improvements statewide. According to the company, its investments in water and sewer infrastructure will total roughly $342 million between October 2013 and December 2017, and these investments aren’t reflected in current rates.

Illinois American Water says it provides services for about 1.2 million people. The company’s operating districts include Peoria, Sterling and Champaign County.

Sterling Mayor Skip Lee said no one likes rate increase, but that he doesn’t find the rate increase unreasonable in light of the infrastructure improvements needed across the county.

“There’s really never a good time for a rate increase, but this is what we must do to maintain the services we are very pleased with,” Lee said.

Illinois American Water’s last base rate increase was approved in 2012.

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