Monday’s ruling followed a huge uproar from ratepayers and elected officials, who widely criticized utilities for their request to charge customers for electricity they didn’t use when demand slowed down during health crisis lockdowns.
Indiana regulators cut Duke Energy’s proposed rate hike by 60%
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission ruled Monday that Duke Energy, the state’s largest electricity provider, could collect an additional $146 million a year from customers. That’s down sharply from Duke Energy’s original request.Read More
More than 2,300 people have complained by email to the Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor, which is on track to become the largest number of complaints for any single case in at least a decade.
Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness isn’t the first person to bash the utilities and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission over the matter. Thousands of consumers have written letters and emails protesting the request.
Two weeks after 10 Indiana utilities asked state regulators for permission to charge ratepayers for millions of dollars in revenue the utilities stand to lose because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has agreed to consider the matter.
IPL said a typical household customer would likely pay an extra $1.50 a month in the first year. That monthly amount would increase by $1.50 each year, or by a total of $10.50 a month by the seventh year.
It’s an unusual rebuke from the Utility Consumer Counselor Bill Fine, who often recommends that state regulators cut a utility’s proposed rate increase, but rarely says the entire hike should be denied.
The ruling is a setback for consumer activists and customer groups, who say Duke Energy’s application to raise electricity rates by an average of 15% is incomplete and confusing.
The utility says it wants to keep most of its coal-fired plants in Indiana running through much of the next decade, while gradually investing in wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.
The utility had wanted to build the gas-fired plant to replace aging coal-burning units, but regulators said the plan was too risky and inflexible.
The utility is seeking a nearly 17 percent rate increase to help pay for more than $542 million of infrastructure investments.
Indianapolis Power & Light has agreed not to raise the fixed monthly rate it charges most of its residential customers, under a rate-case settlement it reached with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and other stakeholders.
Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday appointed former state representative David Ober to an open spot on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and promoted interim IURC chairman Jim Huston to chairman.
The utility is asking state regulators for permission to increase the “fixed charge” on its 490,000 customers from $17 to $27 a month, and increase energy-usage charges also.
James Atterholt, appointed chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in February, will step down next month, saying his wife has been offered a job transfer to Florida.