IBJNews

Indiana House panel amends utility rate bill

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana manufacturers and consumer groups opposed to a bill that would make it easier for power companies to raise their rates won concessions Wednesday from House lawmakers trying to strike a balance between the needs of businesses and the utilities.

The House Utilities & Energy Committee passed the bill sponsored by Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, after its chairman, Rep. Eric Koch, proposed several amendments to address business and ratepayer concerns, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The amendments include a cap on the amount of rate increase utilities can seek for upgrades such as new power lines and natural gas lines, and a reduction of temporary rate hikes that utilities would be allowed to implement if state regulators don't decide on a proposed rate increase within the new deadlines.

Consumer groups and big companies such as Eli Lilly and Co. and Honda have contended the bill as originally proposed would drive up energy bills and could push manufacturers out of the state.

"It presents a significant obstacle to us being able to do business in Indiana," said Chris Olsen, vice president of government affairs at Tate & Lyle, a manufacturer of high-fructose corn syrup. "We operate in other states with much lower costs."

Indiana's utilities say the legislation would simply accelerate rate increases, not make those increases larger. The bill would allow utilities to seek rate increases for upgrades such as replacing power lines or natural gas pipelines more frequently through a more limited review process known as "tracking."

Ed Simcox, president of the Indiana Energy Association, the trade group for the state's investor-owned utilities, said new federal environmental regulations and Indiana's dependence on coal are to blame for rising costs.

"There is nothing in this bill that increases costs to the consumer," he said.

But the state's big manufacturing companies, which employ thousands of Indiana residents, have feared the bill would add to already rising electric rates.

The companies have seen Indiana electricity rates shoot up nearly 62 percent over the last 10 years. Residential rates have increased 47 percent.

"Our annual (energy) bill is in the tens of millions of dollars," said Olsen, the Tate & Lyle official. "Energy as a whole is our second largest cost of doing business. If we had the same rates in Indiana that we have in Illinois, we'd be saving millions a year."

AARP Indiana President Clyde Hall testified against the bill during the House panel's hearing Wednesday.

"Any time there's any legislation that's going to raise rates, it's going to get our concern," he said. "Allowing the utility companies an easier and faster way to raise rates ... is not in the best interest of those on fixed incomes."

Jennifer Terry, who represents a group of 23 Indiana manufacturers that had opposed the bill, said the group had changed its position to neutral after the amendments.

"The amendments do go a ways toward addressing our concerns," she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I keep wondering why I keep hearing about this problem of corporations leaving America, and I never hear a reasonable proposal to lower corporate tax rates and raise personal rates on income from capital gains and dividends, especially for high earners. It is just too simple of a solution for Congress to embrace?

  2. Are you financially down and you need money to settle your dept,or you need money to start up a business or to invest on a huge business,we also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at low interest rate , loan terms determinant,Loan amount between the sum of $5,000.00 to $100,000,000.00. US Dollars And Euro. Loan for developing businesses a competitive edge/ business expansion. We Offer The Following Kinds Of Loans. Personal Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Business Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Consolidation Loan FIRST INFORMATIONS NEEDED ARE: BORROWER’S DATA’S INFORMATION,FILL AND RETURN FOR QUICK START UP PROCESS. Name:_________ Last Name:_________ Age:_________ Contact Address:_________ Country:_________ Amount Needed as Loan:_________ Loan Duration:_________ Phone Number__________ Monthly Income/Yearly Income:_________ Purpose for Loan:_________ Occupation:_________ How Soon is Loan Needed__________ Email via: albertbrownfirm@outlook.com

  3. is a disaster. SR37 already needs to be built to interstate standards between 465 and SR144. Southport Road is a mess each morning and evening.

  4. Bass Pro Shops would be good for the mall as well as a Giant Eagle Market District or a Jungle Jim's International Market Place grocery store like the one near Cincinnati Ohio.A Disney quest indoor theme park would be good.An Academy outdoor store would be good too.Indoor Circus shows and magic shows would be good as well. A casino with sports bar would be good.A Disney theater inside that shows movies and Broadway shows would work.Nashville Tennessee concert shops with indoor neon lights would be good.How about a theater that shows travel shows and theme parks. A train store would be good.How about a giant toy store with high tech video games.

  5. This development is in addition to Allpoints Midwest 5, Aitrtek, a recent FedEx and more in Plainfield. Greenwood and Brownsburg also have similar projects.

ADVERTISEMENT