Sierra Club — “State Approves Much Smaller Rate Increase For Duke Energy Customers”

Exterior view of IGCC power plant at Edwardsport Station in Knox County, Indiana.
Rebecca Thiele, Indiana Public Media, June 30, 2020

The state has approved Duke Energy’s rate increase, but for less than half as much money as the utility had requested. The utility had asked for $395 million last July and was approved for $146 million.

Duke’s original ask would have raised the average resident’s rates by $23 a month. Spokesperson Angeline Protogere said it will be a few weeks before the utility can calculate what effect the lower rate increase would have on customers’ bills. 

Protogere said it will take at least a month for the rates to go into effect and the increase will be phased in over two years.

She said the money will help recover the costs of a number of the company’s projects — including adding new infrastructure to serve more Hoosiers.

“Our customer base has increased by over 100,000, which is equivalent to the size of a small city,” Protogere said.

Protogere said raising rates will also help the utility to transition to cleaner energy by shortening the life of its coal plants.

But the approved order also changes the way customers pay to keep the Edwardsport coal plant running. Instead of through a temporary increase called a “tracker,” the costs will now show up in customers’ base rates — making it a more permanent increase. Wendy Bredhold is with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Indiana.

“This coal plant is way too expensive for customers and is not needed,” she said.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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