The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says an energy bill making its way through the Indiana General Assembly will help the state maintain a competitive edge and allow companies to better control energy costs. SB 309 aims to give businesses more flexibility in generating their own energy and increase transparency in utility rate reviews. Chamber Vice President of Energy and Environmental Policy Greg Ellis calls the measure a "good first step" to addressing energy costs that have risen over the past decade.
In the past, a company’s energy generation facility had to be located on its premises, and the company had to own it. The bill would allow facilities to be owned by a third party and can be located on a contiguous property. Ellis says that gives businesses more flexibility in deciding whether they want to produce some or all of their own energy.
A second provision of the bill requires the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to post a summary of its most recent review of an electric utility’s basic rates and charges on its web site. The electric utility subject to that review would also have to post a link on its site to the IURC summary.
The proposal would also raise the cap on the amount of excess energy utilities purchase from electricity suppliers that are not municipality-owned or REMC utilities. It also provides for competitive procurement when building an electric facility with a capacity to generate more than 80 megawatts.
The chamber calls the bill "truly a compromise of long-standing issues that industrial users and businesses, as well as residential ratepayers, have had with Indiana’s investor-owned utilities." Ellis says many of those issues have been at a stalemate in recent years, calling the bill a positive effort to find middle ground among the parties involved.
Ellis says the measure will help keep Indiana’s energy costs competitive with other states.