Indiana's investor-owned monopoly electric and gas utilities give enormous campaign contributions to Indiana's state legislators at the Indiana General Assembly. Unsurprisingly, this translates to enormous influence on legislation that gets passed at the Indiana Statehouse.
The utilities have lobbied heavily to get major legislation enacted by the IGA in the last few decades. This legislation has drastically tipped the scales in favor of the utilities, and has caused Hoosier utility bills to increase dramatically.
Senate Enrolled Act 340 (2014) & SEA412 (2015) - these bills killed Indiana’s energy efficiency program, Energizing Indiana. Energy efficiency is the cheapest energy resource available, emits no pollution, reduces utility bills, creates local jobs which cannot be outsourced. Energizing Indiana was incredibly effective. It created nearly 19,000 Hoosier jobs, it saved 399,432 megawatt hours of electricity (enough to power 37,886 homes for a year), and it only cost 4 cents per kilowatt hour, 3 times less than the average cost of electricity in Indiana.
SEA309 (2017) - This bill ended net metering in Indiana, which makes it much more difficult for Hoosiers to put solar on their roofs. Before, you would get credited for excess energy that you produce at the same price you pay; an even swap. Now, you will only get credited for any excess electricity you produce at a rate that is about 75% lower than what you pay to the utility when you purchase electricity. It makes it far more difficult for Hoosiers to recover their investments in generating their own electricity, which makes it a lot harder for households to be energy independent.
SEA560 (2013) and HEA1470 (2019) - These bills created the TDSIC tracker (Transmission, Distribution, and Storage Improvement Charge) and made it even easier for the electric & gas utilities to jack up our bills. We’ve seen billions of dollars’ worth of utility bill hikes across Indiana as a result of this egregious tracker. (Trackers, a.k.a. riders, allow the utilities to raise your rates when their costs go up in some areas without having to also reduce rates when their costs have gone down in other areas.)
- SEA29 (2002) - allows for construction work in progress (CWIP). This allows utilities to charge ratepayers for power plants while they are under construction, before they are producing any electricity, and even if they NEVER produce any electricity. This bill enabled Duke Energy to charge their customers for the problem-plagued and scandal ridden Edwardsport IGCC plant, a dirty coal plant which ended up costing Duke customers over $3.5 BILLION.
SEA251 (2011) - defines nuclear power and coal gasification as “clean” energy, adds existing nuclear plants to the CWIP law (SEA29 above), provides utilities with huge and unnecessary incentives for investments that they’ve already made or have been ordered to make, and shifts ALL of the costs of ANY Federal mandate onto the backs of consumers without the requirement that utilities provide the least cost energy. Indiana Michigan Power (AEP) cited SEA251 as justification in their 2013 rate hike that forced ratepayers to assume ALL of the costs and risks associated with a $1.4 billion project for their DC Cook nuclear power plant in Bridgman, MI.