May 8, 2015 – Press Release from Citizens Action Coalition
INDIANAPOLIS – Today the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission denied Duke Energy Indiana’s request for nearly $1.9B from captive ratepayers. In their final order, the IURC cited a lack of evidence as well as insufficient cost estimates to justify the expenditures. The IURC also noted the ineligibility of many projects under the controversial Transmission Distribution and Storage Improvement Charge (TDSIC) statute, such as a $1.5 million customer contact software system, a $3 million “energy learning center,” and $48.5 million in vegetation management, more commonly referred to as tree-trimming. Similarly, the IURC also denied Indiana Michigan (I&M) Power Company’s $787 million TDSIC plan today.
The TDSIC statute was the result of Senate Enrolled Act 560 which passed the Indiana General Assembly in 2013. The legislation was written and supported by the Indiana Energy Association, the monopoly utilities’ trade association. CAC has advocated for the repeal of SEA 560, which shifts the risk from utility investors to the ratepayers and puts onerous timelines on the IURC to act within 300 days or else the utilities are allowed to “self-implement” rate increases.
Duke’s proposal included a $177 million request to install expensive, invasive, and unnecessary smart meters in every home and business in their Indiana service territory. They also requested to continue to earn a return on the investment for the old meters they were going to remove while simultaneously recovering the costs (plus a rate of return) of the new smart meters.
Kerwin Olson, Executive Director at CAC, stated “I’ve seen more detail in most elementary students’ math homework. Duke thought they could cram through this expensive, unnecessary plan after they paid for the passage of this dangerous legislation. The denial of both the Duke and the I&M filings under the law clearly displays that SEA 560 is a horrific piece of public policy that should be repealed by the Indiana General Assembly as soon as possible.”
“The IURC showed true leadership today. CAC praises the IURC for its courageous action and we highly commend the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and our industry allies for their leadership and collaboration in this case.”