Car-sharing program to cost IPL customers less

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Indiana's Utility Consumer Counselor says an electric car-sharing program will cost customers of Indianapolis Power & Light Co. more than a third less under a settlement his office has reached with the utility.

Counselor David Stippler says the settlement filed Thursday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission reduces the average cost per month per average household to 28 cents rather than 44 cents.

The initial rate increase request from the utility and the city sought $16 million from ratepayers to install charging stations and other equipment and to extend power lines to them.

Executive Director Kerwin Olson of the consumer advocacy group Citizens Action Coalition tells the Indianapolis Business Journal he still opposes allowing IPL to bill customers for a service that will be used by a few people.

CAC released this statement:

We were not notified that discussions were taking place. We did not hear about it until the settlement had been agreed to and filed with the judge. It is absolutely infuriating and unacceptable that there exists no requirement in Indiana law that all intervening parties must be at the table when settlement negotiations are taking place. There is significant public interest in this case which was displayed at the field hearing last week, including many representatives of the Indiana General Assembly. To negotiate this behind closed doors in absolute secrecy makes a mockery of the regulatory process.

This settlement does not change the fact that the captive ratepayers of IPL are being forced to subsidize a French multi-billion dollar corporation for a project that has nothing to do with providing electric service. Additionally, the settlement does not change the fact that the Administration of the City of Indianapolis chose to abuse the regulatory process rather than utilize the proper channels of working with the Indianapolis City-Council and other elected officials to identify and secure an appropriate method to fund the project.

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