Indiana Lawmaker Asking for Public Hearing on Utility Rate Hikes

State Rep. Gail Riecken wants residents to be able to weigh in on Vectren Energy's proposed rate hikes.
        Vectren Energy customers could see a rate increase on natural gas bills as early as 2015.
        Last year, the company submitted a plan to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) outlining gas infrastructure improvements necessary to meet federal mandates. If the plan is approved, customers would initially see an increase of about $1 to $1.50 a month.
        The rates would gradually increase to about $13 to $14 more a month by 2022.
        State Representative Gail Riecken (D-Evansville) has asked the IURC to hold a public hearing in Evansville to give residents a chance to weigh in on the changes. "Right now, the average customer served by Vectren in Southwest Indiana pays about $570 a year for gas service," Riecken said. "These increases being proposed by the utility will have a substantial impact on all of us in the service area, but I am particularly concerned about how it will affect seniors and residents on fixed incomes."
        In December, Vectren officials said the federal government determined aging iron cast pipes are inefficient, susceptible to corrosion, and need to be replaced by plastic pipes that are said to be a more durable.
        The IURC has scheduled a hearing on April 15 in Indianapolis, but Rep. Riecken says since it's often difficult to travel there for some residents here in Southwestern Indiana, scheduling another hearing would be helpful for people living closer to Evansville.
        Customers can also submit written comments to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor through the office's website, by email, mail, or fax.
        Consumer Services Staff
        Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
        115 W. Washington Street, Suite 1500 South       
        Indianapolis, IN 46204

        Fax:   317-232-5923

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