Indiana utility watchdog Stippler set to retire

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David Stippler, Indiana’s official advocate for utility customers, who often pushes back against utilities that want to raise rates, plans to retire Jan. 1 after 11 years in office. A replacement will be named by incoming Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Stippler, 69, who carries the title Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor, said Monday he submitted his resignation to state officials last week. He directs 50 people and oversees a budget of $6.8 million. He was originally appointed as consumer counselor by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2008. He was reappointed by Gov. Mike Pence in 2013.

His job is to represent the interests of utility customers who pay for $14 billion worth of utility rates each year. His office has been involved in all major utility rate cases and expansions, often challenging the rates being sought by utilities. Earlier this year, his office reached a settlement with Duke Energy Corp. that will mitigate rate increases that have resulted from construction of a power plant in Edwardsport.

Under state law, the consumer counselor is appointed by the governor for a term of four years. The counselor is required to be a practicing attorney with knowledge and experience to practice in utility regulation proceedings.

Before he led the OUCC, Stippler practiced law with the Indianapolis firm of Bingham McHale and served as in-house corporate counsel with Ameritech Corp. and SBC Communications. He is a 1973 graduate of the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. He lives in Carmel.

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