Citizens seeks rate reduction for downtown steam customers

Citizens Energy Group on Friday filed a request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to reduce rates for its downtown steam-distribution system by 6 percent overall, the utility said.

The request comes two years after Citizens won IURC approval to raise rates for the system by 10 percent.

Citizens serves about 160 business and institutional steam-service customers in the downtown area, including state government facilities, the Indiana Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium and the IUPUI and IU Health campuses.

It said the rate reduction is being made possible thanks to operational and maintenance cost savings resulting from the $9 million conversion of the Perry K Steam Plant from coal to natural gas, which was completed in June 2014.

The proposed rate reduction would take effect in early 2017. Citizens said the exact rate reduction would vary widely based on consumption and other factors.

In 2014, Citizen’s won approval from the IURC to raise rates by about 10 percent to help it pay to convert the Perry K plant. The utility had sought a rate hike ranging from 12.9 percent to 23 percent.

Since beginning the process of converting the 122-year-old Perry K Steam Plant from coal to natural gas in 2013, Citizens has returned $2 million in savings to its steam customers through a tracking mechanism approved by the IURC, it said.

Converting the plant to natural gas has resulted in a 99 percent reduction in sulfur-dioxide emissions, a 95 percent reduction in particulate emissions and a 77 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions,  the utility said.

The plant, on Kentucky Avenue near Victory Field, supplies steam for heating in cold weather. In warmer weather, the steam turns water chillers that cool the buildings.


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