INDIANA (WEHT) The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is asking the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to open a formal investigation into how utilities will deal with present and future overdue utility accounts, along with the impacts of COVID-19 on utility rates and services statewide.
The OUCC representing consumer interests in cases before the IURC.
All disconnections by Indiana utilities are currently suspended through June 4, 2020. But there are no uniform protections in place for Hoosiers when it comes to payment plans set up by utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OUCC requests a two-phase approach to the proposed investigation. In Phase One, the agency asks the IURC to order all jurisdictional utilities to:
- Extend the suspension of disconnections for an appropriate time frame beyond June 4,
- Waive all deposits, late fees, convenience fees, and reconnection fees,
- Expand the use of payment arrangements to assist customers, and
- Immediately start documenting and accounting for assets and liabilities related to stayed disconnections, waived fees, and extended payment plans.
Phase Two of the investigation would focus on longer-term issues related to COVID-19. Among other things, the issues would include consideration of appropriate methodology to review the reasonableness, necessity, and prudency of any COVID-19-related cost recovery requests in future rate cases.
(This story was originally published on May 12, 2020)