Business and Economics

Electricity Bill Refunds Due To Some Customers

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August 19, 2013 — Customers of NIPSCO, Indiana Michigan power and the rest of Indiana’s six largest electricity providers should experience lower utility bills this year.

One utility spokesperson says a rate reduction is in order to offset money the utilities collected from rate-payers last year to fund energy efficiency programs that were not fully spent.

Last year, the state’s utility providers began adding a small charge to every customer’s electric bill for money to hire a company to help customers save energy and enable low-income residents to weatherize their homes.

Indiana’s five largest investor-owned utility companies participated in the program, and the collection, including Duke Energy, Indianapolis Power and Light, Indiana Michigan Power, NIPSCO, Vectren and Indiana Municipal Power Agency.

After collecting more than $74-million from rate-payers, the utilities only spent roughly $42-million.   Duke Energy spokesman Lew Middleton says regulations prevent the companies from keeping the money for future use, “Then that means that we need to then refund the money to the same customers that we collected the money from.  And we do that by lowering the rate at which we collect the money from our customers.”

During the next 10 years the program should help reach a goal of a two-percent decrease for the state’s energy use, set by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.  Indiana Office of Utility Customer Counselor spokesperson Anthony Swinger says the program — called Energizing Indiana — is ambitious.  “Keeping in mind that this is the first year of a multi-year plan.   Energizing Indiana is still very much in its early early stages.  And it’s important to keep in mind that Indiana is the only state doing a program such as this.”

Basically the only electric customers that won’t notice a difference in fees are members of Rural Electric Cooperatives, whose utilities don’t take part in the program.

(With support from Indiana Public Broadcasting Service)


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