Customer groups say an 18-percent rate hike sought by the Indianapolis Department of Waterworks is excessive even for a utility
drowning in variable-rate bond debt that’s swelled since financial markets collapsed.
A trade group for the state’s telephone companies is wringing its hands over budding efforts of electric companies to offer
so-called smart grids to better monitor and manage electric distribution.
Citizens Gas & Coke Utility shuttered its coke manufacturing plant earlier this summer, much to the relief of neighbors and
health officials who warned that its benzene emissions were a cancer threat. But regulatory filings show closing the plant
at Keystone Avenue and Prospect Street could result in more pollution downtown.
Citizens Gas & Coke Utility has revived its pitch for a regulatory plan that would fundamentally change the way it bills customers,
helping it cover rising expenses as gas sales fall. The plan would create an expanded energy conservation program that could
include rebates for customers who buy gas-efficient furnaces and appliances.
Utility ratepayer groups say House Bill 1496, which is stuck in committee, is typical of what they see as a disturbing trend:
allowing utilities to pass the cost of mandates directly to consumers. HB 1496 would require Indiana’s coal-reliant electric
utilities to generate at least 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources like wind and landfill gas.
The cost of a pollution-control project at Indianapolis Power & Light’s Harding Street generating station has soared over
budget by $60 million, or 38 percent, and the utility wants its 465,000 customers in Marion County and nine others to help
foot the bill.
The state’s public access counselor says Indiana’s utility regulators failed to make a legal case for keeping information
about Indianapolis Power & Light’s controversial “Elect Plan” out of public view.