A bill requiring public utilities to submit energy efficiency plans to the state has passed through an Indiana Senate committee. Senator Jim Merritt (R-31) says the proposal would protect consumers. Hoosier Environmental Council Executive Director Jesse Kharbanda says the bill does not go far enough to replace the Energizing Indiana program.
January 22, 2015
Indianapolis, Ind. — A bill authored by State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) to establish a cost-effective and achievable energy savings program in Indiana passed the Senate Committee on Utilities today by a 7-3 vote.
Senate Bill 412 would require a public utility to submit an integrated resource plan to the utility regulatory commission (IURC). Certain electric utilities would also be required to submit an energy efficiency plan to the IURC at least one time every three years.
“My focus has been and will continue to be on protecting Indiana's ratepayers and ensuring an efficient energy plan,” Merritt said. “I am a strong supporter of an all-of-the-above strategy that includes a cost-effective and achievable energy savings program.”
In 2009, in an effort to ramp-up energy efficiency in Indiana, the IURC instituted energy efficiency goals for utilities (2 percent per year by 2019), and required utilities to use third party administrators to deliver many of the efficiency programs. This program, known as Energizing Indiana, was projected to cost Hoosier ratepayers between $1.2 billion and $1.9 billion from 2015 through 2019.
Last year, the General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 340 for the purpose of taking a pause and conducting a thorough review of the program and the cost-effectiveness of our state's overall energy efficiency policies. SB 412 takes the next step in this process.
SB 412 will now move to the full Senate for further consideration and can be viewed by visiting https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/412#.
Source: Office of State Senator Jim Merritt
January 22, 2015
The following is a statement from Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, after today's Senate Utilities Committee hearing on Senate Bill 412, and 7-3 vote to advance the bill:
“In the 2014 legislative session, Indiana became the first state in the nation to disband a high-performing statewide, mandatory energy savings program. The decision was reckless because the state disabled the one comprehensive tool in its hands to help Hoosiers deal with rising energy costs. In the backdrop of analysis showing that the prematurely terminated program, Energizing Indiana, achieved an average benefit cost ratio of 3:1 over its 2 year life, Governor Pence had the opportunity to resurrect it in the 2015 legislative session — and to signal to lawmakers that data, not ideology, should win the day. But unfortunately, the Governor — in choosing to advance a program that will, in all likelihood, be effectively the equivalent of what Indiana was doing a half decade ago — has missed a major opportunity to bring down energy bills for small businesses, middle class households, and factories. And the Governor has missed a chance to create a welcome mat for a variety of energy savings companies that are part of the fastest growing segment of the global energy sector. Fortunately, this is not the end of the story. HEC, other public interest organizations and a diversity of businesses will continue to make the case for stronger efficiency policy. Pence and his legislative partners need to give fresh consideration to advancing an alternative efficiency policy, an EERS, which has proven to spark three and half times more investment in energy efficiency than a plan comparable to the Governor's — that ultimately translates into lower energy bills and more jobs for Hoosiers.”
Source: Hoosier Environmental Council