Press Release

Citizens Energy Group Obtains $11 Million in Loans to Accelerate Its Lead Service Line Replacement Program

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February 29, 2024

Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS – Citizens Energy Group has secured $11 million in no-interest and forgivable loans from the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) to accelerate its program to replace customer-owned lead service lines in Indianapolis neighborhoods. The multi-year lead service line replacement program was approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.  

The total program is expected to cost approximately $500 million. It is estimated that approximately 55,000 customers in Citizens’ service territory own lead service lines connecting the utility’s water main to a home or business. Customer-owned lead service lines in Indianapolis are most commonly present in structures built before 1950. 

The lead service line replacement program which Citizens is implementing kicked off in 2022 with more than 400 homeowner-owned service lines replaced in the first year. A new focus area of the program will be its largest to date, taking place in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. Citizens has closely collaborated with neighborhood and city stakeholders to prepare for construction. 

“As a partner in the broader community effort to enhance the overall quality of life for Martindale Brightwood residents, the coalition of neighborhood partners is excited about the significant investments being made to improve livability,” said Barato Britt, President and CEO of the Edna Martin Christian Center. “With residents and stakeholders presently engaged in a new Quality of Life Plan, external partners like Citizens Energy Group have lent valuable input and resources consistent with the neighborhood's goals and demands. We're pleased that this deserving community has been identified for this critical investment.” 

Program areas are prioritized based on several factors, including the number of known or suspected lead service lines in an area, the potential for health risks, neighborhood economic impacts, and inter-agency coordination ahead of other planned infrastructure work in the area, which helps lessen construction impacts and overall project costs. 

Citizens regularly monitors tap water in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to confirm that finished water is safe for drinking. In addition to regular water monitoring, Citizens takes steps during the water treatment process to ensure finished drinking water has the proper quality to help protect against lead leaching out of customer-owned lead service lines and plumbing. Full replacement of customer-owned service lines as outlined in the program gives the highest protection against the presence of lead in drinking water. 

"This funding is a significant investment not only in infrastructure, but in the lives of Hoosiers in some of Indianapolis’ most historic communities,” IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess said. “Private lead service lines are the most common source of lead in water. Replacing these pipes ensures water arriving in homes is at safe health standards and is a vital upgrade that may be out of reach for people to make on an individual basis.” 

About the Lead Service Line Replacement Program, implemented by Citizens Energy Group:

Tens of thousands of Citizens customers own homes or buildings which were connected to the water system prior to 1950 and also own the water service lines which are therefore more likely to be made of lead or contain lead. Approved in 2022, the LSLRP is a multi-year program to investigate customer-owned service lines that may contain lead and replace them at no additional cost to the customer.

Citizens regularly monitors tap water from customers’ homes in accordance with U.S. EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule and remains fully compliant with all federal and state water quality requirements. Still, the surest method to avoid lead exposure in drinking water is to fully replace customer-owned service lines made of lead or containing lead-based connections. Replacements will be accomplished in several ways: in coordination with infrastructure improvement projects; in proactive focus neighborhoods; or as initiated by customers for the upgrade or maintenance of their own service line.

Learn more about the lead service line replacement program which Citizens is implementing by clicking here

About Citizens Energy Group
Citizens Energy Group provides safe and reliable utility services to about 900,000 people in the Indianapolis area. Citizens operates its utilities for the benefit of customers and the community.

Citizens Energy Group Obtains $11 Million in Loans to Accelerate Its Lead Service Line Replacement Program