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Bill to let utilities get paid for natural gas plants during construction passes state House

The Eagle Valley plant. It's a large industrial building that's half grey and white. It's seen from the side of a road, with orange traffic polls lined just off the road's shoulder.
Rebecca Thiele
IPB News
The bill would allow utilities to recover the cost of natural gas plants – like the Eagle Valley plant – as they’re being built.

A bill, HB 1421, that would allow utilities to recover the cost of natural gas plants as they’re being built passed the Indiana House on Monday.

Indiana utilities and other supporters have said it helps avoid “rate shock” by easing the cost of those plants into customers’ bills over a longer period of time. It’s something utilities are already allowed to do while building other power sources — like wind farms and coal plants.

READ MORE: Bill would let utilities recover the cost of natural gas plants during construction

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But consumer advocates have said ratepayers shouldn’t have to pay for a plant that isn’t running yet. Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) also reiterated his concerns Monday that the bill could encourage larger, more expensive natural gas plants at a time when smaller plants are a better complement to renewable energy sources.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Rebecca Thiele covers statewide environment and energy issues.