Indiana Utility Affordability Crisis

For many years, Hoosiers paid some of the lowest electric bills in the nation. Indiana now has the 12th highest electric bills in the country. Far too many Hoosiers are struggling to afford significant increases in the cost of essential utility service.


eia monthly household electricity expendituresFor decades, utilities were not required to report important data showing how many Hoosiers struggle to keep up with ever increasing utility bills. After prodding from CAC, utilities began reporting this data in 2020. The results were alarming: Indiana ranked third in the nation for utility disconnections in 2020-2021.


When utilities stopped reporting this crucial data in 2022, we continued our push for transparency. The data shows harrowing trends: thousands of Hoosiers getting disconnected each month, with tens of thousands of Hoosiers over 60 days behind on bills, and hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers receiving disconnect notices.


A System Rigged Against Consumers 

Jan 2023 Indiana disconnect dataThe monopoly utilities have a nice gig: they are shielded from competition and sell services we all need to survive. They also earn a rate of return on every one of your dollars they spend, so the more money they spend, the more money they make.


In exchange for the privilege of being monopolies, utilities are regulated by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). The IURC’s primary function is to act as a surrogate to competition, but legislation passed by the Indiana General Assembly has fundamentally changed how we regulate utilities here in Indiana


2022 Indiana utility campaign contributionsUtilities have used their power and influence to secure legislation that compels the IURC to approve excessive rate hikes for:

  • Transmission and distribution upgrades (TDSIC), leading to billions of dollars of rate increases across Indiana
  • Construction of power plants and power plant upgrades, leading to billions of dollars of rate increases across the state
  • Fuel costs, leading to significant bill hikes over the course of 2021 and 2022


To make matters worse, the Indiana General  Assembly has also put an end to programs and policies that help Hoosiers save money and control their energy use, like net metering for rooftop solar and Energizing Indiana, a successful state-wide energy efficiency program


When state legislation takes away the authority of regulators to actually regulate, the IURC is powerless to stop extreme increases. But even when the IURC has the ability to stand up for the needs of utility consumers, regulators frequently fail to do so. Utility regulators allow:

  • High fixed monthly charges, which make it harder to control energy bills and disproportionately impact those who use the least energy
  • Declining block rates, a regressive rate structure that forces those who use the least energy to pay the highest rates per kilowatt hour
  • Sweetheart deals for industrial customers, with residential customers picking up the tab

Unaffordable utility service compromises public health and disproportionately impacts marginalized communities.


Hoosier Families At Risk

aceee energy burden reportStruggling to afford utility service forces Hoosiers to make difficult decisions: skipping out on food or medicine to pay bills instead, resorting to risky heating methods to stay warm, or maintaining unsafe indoor temperatures (especially damaging for senior citizens, children, and people with disabilities). Losing utility service also compromises public health and safety. 


High utility bills also cause disproportionate harm to marginalized communities. Research from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy shows that Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, and low-income households pay a larger proportion of their incomes towards utility service. In addition, 77% of households who rely on the federal Energy Assistance Program include a vulnerable member: someone who is elderly, a person with disabilities, or a small child. 

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Consumer Protections

All residential utility customers pay the price when our energy policy and regulatory process is rigged in favor of large, highly profitable monopoly utilities. But vulnerable Hoosiers - mostly children, the elderly, and people with disabilities - get hit the hardest.


We need consumer protections that protect those struggling the most:


We also need to restore fairness and balance to the regulatory process so that all residential electric consumers get a fair shake:

  • Repeal trackers
  • Affordable utility service for residential customers must be prioritized in state legislation and regulatory decisions
  • Require utilities to provide detailed bills so Hoosiers have a clear picture of what they’re paying for each month 


Customers can’t choose their utility company, so we need to restore and create policies that give customers control over their energy costs:

Current Campaigns

These are the issues of immediate importance we are working on right now.