INDIANAPOLIS-- Your IPL bill could soon go up if state regulators approve the company's proposed rate increase - but there are still chances to make your voice heard.
The average customer will pay about $11/month more on their bill if the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission greenlights IPL’s proposal.
Citizens Action Coalition, a consumer watchdog group, is encouraging customers to speak out before it’s a done deal.
IURC has scheduled two public field hearings scheduled on April 23 and May 7 in Indianapolis.
“It’s critically important that IURC hears the voice of the public and they hear the concerns of the public and know the public is paying attention,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition.
Olson said public comment can have a tremendous impact on rate cases.
Under IPL’s request, a monthly residential electric bill for 1,000-kilowatt hours (kWh) would rise from $112.95 to $124.38, according to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC).
The monthly charge for a residential customer using more than 325-kilowatt hours (kWh) per month would rise from $17.00 to $27.00, according to OUCC, and for a residential customer using less than 325 kWh, the monthly charge would rise from $11.25 to $16.00.
IPL provides electricity to about 490,000 customers in Marion County and nine other counties in Central Indiana.
The utility is seeking higher rates due to increases in operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for major capital improvements, primarily the newly built Eagle Valley Generating Station in Morgan County, according to OUCC.
IPL is also requesting funding for a battery energy storage facility at the Harding Street generating station, cost recovery for substation upgrades, the creation of a new reserve fund for tree trimming and vegetation management, and additional money for major storm damage recovery.
However, Olson said the rate increase would boost IPL’s already hearty revenue stream.
“AES their parent company has reported $2 billion in excess cash in 2017, so the company is financially strong, financially healthy, delivering strong performance to their shareholders, and their customers are struggling,” said Olson. “So, it's the customers that need help, not the company.”
IPL released a statement regarding the proposed rate increase.
"IPL’s Regulatory Rate Review covers the cost of meeting customer needs, including the investments in advanced technology that have enabled us to significantly reduce our dependence on coal and transition to a more balanced generation mix. IPL is providing a more balanced generation mix by building a natural gas plant that will generate cleaner, more reliable and efficient energy at a reasonable cost, by closing older outdated units and by converting certain coal-fired units to natural gas, among other infrastructure improvements.
If approved by the IURC, the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month will pay approximately $11.50 more per month by the first quarter of 2019. IPL encourages all customers to visit IPLpower.com/answers [iplpower.com] to use our rate calculator to see specific bill impacts."
IURC’s two field hearings in Indianapolis:
Monday, April 23, 2018: Arsenal Technical High School (Anderson Hall), 1500 E. Michigan St.
Monday, May 7, 2018: New Augusta Public Academy-North (Auditorium), 6450 Rodebaugh Rd.
Each hearing will start at 6:00 p.m. Consumers are encouraged to arrive no later than 5:45 p.m. for an overview of field hearing procedures and the rate case process.
At each IURC field hearing:
Consumers will be able to speak directly to the Commission, under oath and on the record
Consumers will also be able to submit written comments for the case record.
Comments will carry equal weight whether they are oral or written.
Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. However, OUCC staff will be available before, during, and after the hearing to address questions about the process.