IPL Wants You To Pay At Least $10 More Each Month For Your Electricity!
March 4, 2020 Update: The IURC approved IPL's request to spend $1.2 billion to upgrade its transmission and distribution grid. This sets the stage for seven straight years of rate increases to pay for the improvements. IPL will be allowed to recover these costs through called trackers added onto customer bills, and they will have to receive approval from the IURC for each round of increases.
IPL said they plan to file for the first increase by July 1. They said a typical household would likely see an increase of $1.50 a month in the first year, and that the monthly amount will likely increase by $1.50 each year, which would end up being a cumulative increase of $10.50 a month by year 7.
CAC is disappointed, but not surprised that state regulators approved the plan. This rate increase was enabled by the Indiana General Assembly when they passed House Enrolled Act 1470 in 2018.
The IURC did open a subdocket in this case to explore the issue of allowing IPL customers to opt out of having a smart meter installed on their property, if they wish to do so.
Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) just got a rate hike in 2018. Now they’re back before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), less than a year later, with their hands out requesting to hike your bills yet again.
In July 2019, Indianapolis Power and Light filed for a request (Cause No. 45264) before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), for permission to raise their total operating revenues by $1.2 billion over the next 7 years. If approved by the IURC, electric rates will increase by an average of 1.1% every year for 7 years, culminating in a total monthly bill increase of approximately $10.50, according to IPL.
Our Indiana state legislators enabled IPL to file for this type of bill hike when they passed SEA560 (2013), and then amended it with SEA1470 (2019). Learn more here: https://www.citact.org/indiana-general-assembly-indiana-bill-watch/2019-indiana-general-assembly/news/background-house-bill.
In the last 10 years (2008-2018), IPL’s monthly bills have increased 57% for the average customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month. (Source: IURC Annual Reports (https://www.in.gov/iurc/2981.htm) and Annual Bill Surveys (https://www.in.gov/iurc/2761.htm).) Over roughly that same period (2007-2017), the median annual income (adjusted for inflation) in Marion County has declined by 11.4%, or more than $6,000.
It should also be noted that as reported by the Indianapolis Business Journal, IPL’s electricity sales have declined 8% from 2014 to 2018, while their revenues have increased 10%. In other words, IPL is making money hand over fist, while selling less of their product to the public. What a deal!
Wages are stagnant, while significant increases in the cost of energy, food, health care, utilities, and other necessities are forcing households to make tough decisions on a daily basis. Additionally, 1 in 5 residents in Indianapolis live in poverty and the number of customers being disconnected by IPL every year has increased by 31% since 2015.
Meanwhile, IPL’s parent company, AES, continues to report strong financial results and recently bragged in its 2nd quarter earnings release of the company’s strong performance for its shareholders. AES and IPL are financially healthy. It is IPL's customers who need relief, not the monopoly utility that is raking in profits hand-over-fist.
IPL is not allowing Smart Meter Opt-Out
As part of this case, IPL is also seeking approval to install advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), otherwise known as "smart meters," at every home and business that they serve. Many utility customers have expressed concerns about health, safety, privacy, and cybersecurity related to the installation and utilization of smart meters. Customers deserve to have all of these concerns addressed prior to any smart meter deployment.
However, unlike other electric utilities in Indiana, IPL is NOT offering customers the opportunity to opt out of smart meter installation. Customers should absolutely have the right to say NO to a smart meter if they so choose. Furthermore, customers should not be forced to have a smart meter installed if they do not want one.
This IPL Bill Hike brought to you by your Indiana State Legislators
Prior to 2013, Indiana’s monopoly energy utilities had to maintain their transmission and distribution infrastructure using their own money, because providing reliable service is their legal obligation under the law as State-franchised monopolies.
In 2019, the Indiana General Assembly passed HEA1470. HEA1470 amended SEA560, which the Indiana General Assembly passed in 2013.
Together, these two pieces of legislation form the law that is enabling IPL to request this hike to customers’ monthly electric bills. This law is the TDSIC Tracker (Transmission, Distribution, and Storage Improvement Charge). (For more on trackers, see https://www.citact.org/node/332 & https://www.citact.org/node/2846.)
Indiana State Legislators flipped the model on its head and are now requiring that you as a customer are the one responsible for paying to maintain the utility transmission and distribution infrastructure through your bills. They are placing the cost and the risk of running a utility on you as a customer instead of on the utility and their shareholders, where it belongs.
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