Ind. agency fights utility rates for electric cars

INDIANAPOLIS - A state agency says Indianapolis consumers shouldn't have to pay for a proposed electric car sharing program out of their utility rates.

Indianapolis Power & Light wants the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to approve a rate increase that it says would raise an average residential customer's bill by 44 cents per month.

The Office of Utility Consumer Counselor argued in testimony Friday that the increase isn't allowed under state law, which limits rates to the providing of service to all customers and recovery of operating and maintenance costs.

IPL says it believes the car sharing program will benefit its customers.

Under the plan unveiled in May, the city would partner with a French company to set up charging stations for electric cars that drivers could rent.

An IPL spokeswoman released the following statement:

IPL has met with the OUCC and respects their position, however, we strongly believe the proposal submitted to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) for approval to invest in the BlueIndy all-electric car share program will greatly benefit our customers and the City of Indianapolis. BlueIndy is an innovative program that will bring a needed transportation option to our community.  

A spokesman for Mayor Greg Ballard said the proposed IPL hike is a backup plan. The city says the increase is being requested to cover the costs of the charging stations if not enough people use the system to pay off the infrastructure investment.

The city plans to challenge the opposition to the IPL fee.

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