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.
Although the petition doesn’t say how much the utility will seek from customers, a Vectren spokeswoman said the project will cost $164 million.
The monthly rate increases, if granted by state regulators, would likely be about $1.50 for the typical household customer in the first year. That monthly amount would increase by an additional $1.50 each year, or by about $10.50 over the seven years.
More than 800,000 customers of Duke Energy Indiana could see their monthly bills jump if the utility receives state permission to increase rates for the first time in about 15 years.
The utility, with more than 300,000 customers in central Indiana, announced a settlement agreement Tuesday with consumer groups.
The utility is seeking a nearly 17 percent rate increase to help pay for more than $542 million of infrastructure investments.
State regulators approved a 30 percent increase from Citizens in 2016. The utility now says it needs to raise rates to continue funding its massive DigIndy tunnel system project.
Indiana American Water, which provides water services to 1.3 million people in Indiana, has requested a nearly 17 percent rate increase.
The company said the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on Tuesday approved the final phase of an agreement with various consumer groups to reflect decreases in rates as a result of the federal tax overhaul last year.
The amount of savings under the agreement approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will vary by customer. Duke Energy credits the federal tax overhaul for the rate reduction.
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana says Duke Energy’s controversial Edwardsport plant has suffered repeated outages and failed to live up to its promises, costing ratepayers more than $1 billion in unneeded fees.
Indiana American Water, which serves about 1.3 million people, estimates it will replace all lead service lines by no later than 2042 and possibly as soon as 2028.
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.
In a sharp rebuke, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor said IPL’s $96.7 million rate increase is unjustified. It is recommending a much smaller increase.
Democrat Jared Evans said the council members are hoping to “raise awareness” about the issue and persuade state regulators to drastically reduce the amount IPL raises its rates, “if they don’t decline this altogether.”
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.
Public utility regulators from Oklahoma to Massachusetts are considering lowering the rates that homeowners and businesses pay, after the passage of a federal tax overhaul that reduced the corporate income tax rate by 14 percent.
If state regulators approve the request from Indianapolis Power & Light Co., customers would see their rates rise by the end of 2018.
Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s recently upgraded the rating on the city of Lawrence’s waterworks utility revenue and refunding debt—a move officials say could eventually save taxpayers money.