House panel passes utility energy-efficiency bill

An Indiana House committee has approved a proposal that would reduce state oversight of the energy-efficiency programs of major utilities.

The House Utilities Committee advanced a measure Wednesday that would allow major utility companies to develop their own efficiency programs and charge customers to implement them.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission would have the final say on approving the programs.

Supporters say there isn't a one-size fits all solution and companies should have the flexibility to choose their own programs.

Opponents say it's a mediocre replacement for the statewide Energizing Indiana program that lawmakers eliminated last year and allows utilities to recover unlimited lost revenues for electricity they don't sell.

Environmentalists also say Indiana could have a harder time meeting federal requirements for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

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