2016 Indiana General Assembly: Utility Bill Watch List

Sat, 01/09/2016 - 14:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bad

HB1307: Voluntary Forestation

Author: Rep. Heath VanNatter (R)

Status: Died in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee

Position: CAC opposes the bill

Description: Allows an electricity supplier that undertakes a voluntary forestry program involving eligible land to petition the utility regulatory commission (IURC) to defer and recover approved program costs as part of the electricity supplier's next general rate case. Provides that for purposes of an electricity supplier's forestry program, "eligible land" means land that is located in Indiana and that is: (1) eligible for, or participating in, the classified forest program administered by the department of natural resources (department); or (2) owned or managed by the department or the Indiana natural resources foundation. 

 

The Good

SB347: Water resources

Authors:  Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R), Sen. Douglas Eckerty (R), Sen. Michael Delph (R)Sen. Mark Stoops (D)Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D)

Sponsors:  Rep. David Wolkins (R), Rep. Greg Beumer (R), Rep. Steven Stemler (D), Rep. Christina Hale (D)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Votes:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Requires the Indiana finance authority (authority), before November 1, 2017, to prepare and submit in an electronic format to the executive director of the legislative services agency a report on non-revenue water (the difference between the volume of water entering a water distribution system and the volume of water consumption billed to customers served by the water distribution system) and water loss in Indiana. Requires the authority to perform a quality assurance review of the water resources data compiled from the reports submitted annually by owners of significant water withdrawal facilities for all calendar years since 1985, and to present the results of its quality assurance review as those results become available to the water rights and use section of the division of water of the department of natural resources. Requires the authority to study, analyze, and report to the executive director of the legislative services agency by November 1, 2016, on the infrastructure needs of Indiana's water utilities.

Essentially, this bill enables more comprehensive reporting of water resource issues including water distribution challenges and infrastructure needs.

 

SB383: System integrity adjustments

Authors: Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R), Sen. Douglas Eckerty (R), Sen. James Merritt (R)Sen. Brent Steele (R)Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D)

Sponsors: Rep. Heath VanNatter (R), Rep. Eric Allan Koch (R), Rep. Steven Stemler (D), Rep. Christina Hale (D)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Votes:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: SB383 creates a new tracker for water utilities to use for infrastructure improvements and repairs with some important “first of its kind” accountability measures imposed on the utility.

More importantly, SB383 includes a new policy statement from the legislature, which is applicable to all public utilities, declaring that utility bills should be affordable for current and future generations. CAC offered strong support for this important policy direction from the legislature.

 

SB274: Utility Customer Reports

Author: Sen. Jean Breaux (D)

Status: Died in the Senate Utilities Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill 

Description: Requires a public or municipally owned electric or natural gas utility to annually report to the Indiana utility regulatory commission (IURC) certain data concerning customer accounts and low income customer accounts. Provides that: (1) a utility shall report all required information in the aggregate and in a manner that does not identify individual customers and low income customers; and (2) the IURC may not require utilities to disclose confidential and proprietary business information without adequate protection of the information.

 

HB1107: Energy Efficiency Audits for State Property

Author: Rep. Christina Hale (D), Rep. Michael Karickhoff (R)

Status: Died in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: This bill would require the state to conduct energy efficiency audits of state property. In addition it allows a state agency to retain cost savings realized as a result of an energy efficiency audit in an amount not to exceed the cost of conducting the audit plus an additional amount not to exceed 10% of the cost of conducting the audit.

 

HB1133: IURC Fining Authority

Author: Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D)

Status: Died in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Allows the Indiana utility regulatory commission (IURC) to impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000 on a public utility providing energy services if the public utility violates or fails to comply with any: (1) utility law; or (2) rate or service requirement imposed by the IURC. Allows the IURC to impose an additional penalty of up to $10,000 if the violation or failure to comply demonstrates a willful disregard by the public utility of the public utility's duty to remedy the violation or a willful failure to comply.

 

HB1134: Renewable Energy Standards

Author: Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D)

Status: Died in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Would incrementally implement a 25% renewable energy standard by the year 2026. The bill establishes a renewable energy resources fund to receive penalties paid by electricity suppliers that fail to supply electricity from renewable energy resources.

 

SB208: Clean Power Plan State Implementation

Author: Sen. Karen Tallian (D)

Status: Died in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Deals with the implementation of Indiana’s strategy to achieve goals as outlaid by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Establishes the clean power plan committee. Provides for the chairpersons and ranking minority members of the standing committees of the Senate and House of Representatives having subject matter jurisdiction relating to environmental affairs, utilities, and health to be members of the committee. Requires the committee to consider and adopt a state plan for the implementation in Indiana of the regulatory program based on the Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Requires the department of environmental management and the Indiana utility regulatory to conduct public meetings and receive public comments on the nature and contents of a proposed state plan and, before July 1, 2016, to prepare and submit to the committee a proposed state plan or a recommendation that the committee request an extension of the deadline for submission of a state plan.

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