CenterPoint Hearing Urges Denial of Rate-Hike Request: ‘Put a moratorium on increases.’
A hearing was held in Evansville Wednesday night, to give the public a chance to weigh in on CenterPoint Energy’s request to add fees for residential customers as part of their $454 million dollar infrastructure improvement plan.
This was a joint event with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Councilor (OUCC.)
The IURC was there to hear testimony directly from the public in a legal setting, on the record with a court reporter and judge present.
“The court reporter will transcribe all of the comments received from the public; the utility does not make a presentation, they made their case in writing,” said OUCC spokesperson Olivia Rivera. “And so most of what they've presented is already in the record, and now it's the consumers turn to provide comments for the record.”
The IURC will make a decision on CenterPoint’s request by December 20th, with feedback from the public. Comments can be taken through September 15 at the Indiana OUCC website.
Emails are also accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of the public comments were urging the IURC to deny the request, citing already high energy bills.
Jean Webb said 20-percent of Evansville residents are living in poverty.
“Please stop,” she said. “Put a moratorium on increases until you devise a way to allow the 20 percent or more of Evansville households to live safely. Power is not a luxury. It's a necessity of life.”
Under the plan, CenterPoint would gradually increase fee rates over five years. It would start with $2.55 per one 1,000 kilowatt hours in 2024, maxing out at $14.68 in 2028.
Other commenters accused CenterPoint of being greedy, citing robust profits.
Others highlighted the need for a strong reliable utility infrastructure — the goal of the proposed upgrades.
CenterPoint’s plan includes transmission line rebuilds and security upgrades, wood pole replacements and other distribution system updates in southern Indiana, according to the OUCC.
Support independent journalism today. You rely on WNIN to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Give to grow our local reporting today. Donate now.