Pro-consumer Indiana energy policies need to be enacted!

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 16:16

Legislators are ignoring policies that can benefit taxpayers, ratepayers, and the economy as a whole.  Instead, they work to protect the monopoly utilities at taxpayer and ratepayer expense.  We need policies and programs that accelerate the market preference for efficiency and renewables.  This represents the least-cost approach for taxpayers and ratepayers.  It also creates the most jobs and addresses protecting our environment in a cost-effective, responsible manner.  

Mandatory 30% Renewable Energy Standard (RES) by 2020: This would mandate that Indiana utilities must generate 30% of their electricity using renewable sources by 2020.  The definition of “renewable” must be limited to wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power, and must exclude the use of fossil fuels, nuclear power, and burning trash.

Feed In Tariff (FIT): A feed in tariff would allow individuals, small businesses, and organizations to generate their own electricity, and would require the utilities to buy that electricity at a premium.  This would not only encourage the growth of renewable electricity and distributed resources, it would allow people willing to invest in these resources to recover their investments and to make a modest profit once the investment has been paid off.  This would be especially beneficial for entities that give back to the community - churches, community groups, schools, libraries, etc.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE): PACE helps individuals, small businesses, and organizations to finance their renewable energy assessments through municipal loans that are paid back through property taxes.  This allows these entities to realize the energy savings from these investments even before the investments are completely paid off.

Elected utility regulators: Indiana is one of only three states where the Regulatory Commission is appointed by the Governor with virtually NO oversight by either the public or the legislative branch.  There is a revolving door and an all too cozy relationship between the regulators (the IURC) and the regulated (utilities).  The result is that average electric bills across Indiana have increased by about 30% in the past five years.  Allowing us to elect our utility regulators will go a long way toward building accountability into the regulatory structure and ensuring that regulators are working to protect consumers.

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