EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — In response to Direct Action Against CenterPoint Energy (DAACE), Evansville City Council says they have formed an affordability and quality of life ad hoc committee.

Officials tell us a direct action from Council President Zac Heronemus formed a four-member ad hoc committee to facilitate effective collaboration with DAACE and other member groups of the newly formed Energy for All Coalition, along with other interested members of the public.

According to an official release, its mission will be to explore solutions to the utility affordability crisis and other quality of life issues in Evansville. 

“It is DAACE’s hope that after the ad hoc committee performs its due diligence, a city ordinance will form a new City Task Force dedicated to these issues,” said one DAACE activist. 

As outlined at the City Council meeting on March 28, 2022, DAACE’s initial recommended committee actions include:

  1. Expedite adoption of the numerous strategies outlined in the 2021 Evansville Climate Action Plan that focus on home weatherization and efficiency. Strategies 2.4, 2.5, 2.12, 2.14, 2.15 and 2.16 will help low- and moderate-income residents save on their bills and improve property values while creating jobs.
  2. Develop a City-Scale Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program as recommended in the 2014 Evansville Millennial Plan for 2040 to reduce strain on currently overwhelmed non-profit organizations through a revolving rehabilitation loan fund program. 
  3. Unify with other municipal and county governments in the eight-county CenterPoint Energy Indiana South service territory to collectively address the regional affordability crisis.
  4. Dedicate monies for legal expenses to become an intervening party in future CEI South Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission/Office of Utility Consumer Counselor rate case negotiations.
  5. Strongly recommend, directly to CEI:a. Immediately lower its natural gas distribution rate from the newly granted $0.60/therm to its requested $0.36/therm rate.
    b. Abandon its plans to build any new fossil-fueled peaker plants, and associated bill increases, and instead invest in energy efficiency, demand side management and energy storage for reliable peak summer demand needs.
    c. Reinstate the Electric Heating discount rate and increase rebates for a gas furnace to high-efficiency HVAC heat pump migration to encourage their adoption to better utilize the energy sources of the future.