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Indiana utilities want to recover revenue due to pandemic

Indiana’s gas and electric companies are asking state regulators to allow them to recover lost revenue from customers due to the pandemic, but critics argue that it would burden struggling consumers even more.

Posted: May 12, 2020 12:21 PM
Updated: May 13, 2020 8:05 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s gas and electric companies are asking state regulators to allow them to recover lost revenue from customers due to the pandemic, but critics argue that it would burden struggling consumers even more.

Ten companies, including Indianapolis Power & Light Co. and Duke Energy Inc., filed the request Friday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. They want to charge customers for all “bad debt expense incurred” associated with an executive order that has suspended disconnections for nonpayment through June 4.

The petition stated that the pandemic is causing “substantial adverse financial impact” on their business. But companies did not provide any actual figures regarding loss in revenue or how much customer’s bills would increase if approved.

Building closures across the state has caused an overall downturn in energy use thus putting a financial strain on energy companies, the petitioners said.

Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, a consumer group, called the request “unprecedented utility greed.”

“It is disgusting that during these unprecedented times, they are more concerned with quarterly stock reports than with the health, safety and well-being of the Hoosier communities and consumers which they serve,” Kerwin Olson said in a written response. He is the organization’s executive director.

Essentially, utilities want to charge customers for energy that they did not sell, Olson added.

The Indiana Energy Association, a trade group that represents utilities, said the petition seeks to defer the fixed-cost portion of energy production “that enables companies to have power available around the clock.”

The association also cited that at least 29 other states have approved similar regulations to what Indiana utilities are seeking.

If approved, utility companies will have to track coronavirus related costs and make plans on how to recover their losses, which could include charging customers over time. Customers would not be impacted immediately.

A commission spokesperson said they could not comment on pending cases.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor announced Monday it is asking the state to investigate how companies will handle the pandemic’s impact on utility rates, services, and overdue utility accounts. The agency also wants the state to extend the suspension of utility disconnections and waive all deposits and fees.

“This extraordinary and unprecedented situation calls for new protections to ensure that all Hoosiers have access to essential services, especially consumers who are suffering loss of income through no fault of their own,” Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Bill Fine said.

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Cases: 1068829

Reported Deaths: 20050
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4330899005
DuPage687371145
Will57945867
Lake53068884
Kane45704675
Winnebago26161407
Madison24144462
St. Clair22065424
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Peoria14905239
Sangamon14469234
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Rock Island11834302
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LaSalle9392247
Macon8775179
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Adams7304117
Williamson6146116
Boone552377
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Clinton498985
Coles469080
Ogle458271
Knox4577140
Grundy433954
Effingham429868
Jackson415667
Henry399676
Marion3958111
Franklin382068
Macoupin381094
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Jefferson3409104
Morgan324189
Woodford317266
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Bureau299684
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McDonough213251
Saline201453
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Union197332
Shelby196135
Crawford175334
Cass174731
Bond173124
Warren158043
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Jo Daviess148124
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Clark146529
Washington144325
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Scott3731
Putnam3452
Hardin3018
Pope2432
Unassigned1100
Out of IL330

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 590211

Reported Deaths: 9310
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion815581297
Lake44306666
Allen31919541
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Elkhart24098341
Vanderburgh18643213
Tippecanoe17422121
Johnson14496284
Porter14399160
Hendricks13870241
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Monroe9076108
Delaware8836132
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Warrick643890
Hancock638797
Bartholomew626694
Floyd6150105
Wayne5933157
Grant5818110
Dubois544372
Boone534367
Morgan516291
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Henry493664
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Noble460557
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Jackson414745
Shelby402179
Lawrence380575
Clinton364539
Gibson356556
DeKalb337363
Montgomery334851
Harrison328542
Knox327839
Miami309843
Steuben306340
Adams295235
Whitley294125
Wabash293045
Ripley292345
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White267538
Daviess261672
Jefferson250738
Fayette242348
Decatur242182
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Posey232326
Wells229447
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Scott216937
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Jennings192535
Sullivan189031
Spencer181917
Fountain179725
Washington177118
Starke171341
Jay162821
Owen159537
Fulton159229
Carroll152115
Orange151433
Rush149918
Perry147227
Vermillion144933
Franklin143433
Parke12908
Tipton128232
Pike113625
Blackford107522
Pulaski95237
Newton89421
Brown85530
Benton84310
Crawford7579
Martin70013
Warren6587
Switzerland6205
Union6113
Ohio4677
Unassigned0374