Vectren customers may soon face bigger bills, but not before sharing their concerns. Several people attend a rate hike hearing at the Old National Events Plaza.
One by one, they take the mic. Some were in support. "They do everything they can for our customers. They bend over backwards. I think that's unfair that (Vectren) never gets recognized. That this never gets noticed." "We're all better for their presence here, and from their headquarters here in southwest Indiana."
Some against. "I need some sort of assurance that the customers don't get stuck paying for double the cost."
Elected officials, local business owners, city leaders, to regular citizens, all testifying their opinions to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission over Vectren's proposed rate increase for natural gas customers. "People are concerned about the cost of their bill, and we are too," says Chase Kelley Vectren Spokesperson.
Vectren wants to increase rates over seven years to pay for their gas modernization plan. The plan would help improve the safety of hundreds of miles of pipelines. If approved by the IURC, customers would pay about a dollar more a month, starting next year. By 2022 that could be as high as fourteen dollars a month.
"It's a modest increase, but again, needed because of federal mandate. We believe that the bill will be very manageable, but we understand why customers would be concerned with any price increase," says Kelley.
"It's another rate increase. It means a lot to people," says Indiana State Representative Gail Riecken. Riecken requested the IURC come to the area and hold a hearing. "I think it's important that our constituents and our consumers, that actually use the gas, would have the opportunity to talk about how the impact of increase rates would mean to them."
Riecken says she hopes everyone's voice is heard, but in the end it's up to the IURC to make the final decision. If you were unable to make it to the meeting, you can submit written comments through the office of the Utility Consumer Counselor until next Monday. The next meeting will be in May.