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Indiana Utilities File Energy Efficiency Plans

Must be approved by utility regulators; would replace the Energizing Indiana plan killed by lawmakers

Indiana's largest electric utilities have all filed their proposals for their own energy efficiency programs.

The proposals would replace the statewide Energizing Indiana program, which ends December 31 after it was killed by state lawmakers during this year's session. "(The General Assembly) didn't eliminate energy efficiency, it eliminated the mandatory targets that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission had set in 2009," said Lew Middleton, spokesman for Duke Energy. Duke was one of five utilities to file an efficiency plan with the commission - the others are Indianapolis Power and Light, Vectren, Indiana-Michigan Power and Northern Indiana Public Service Company.

Most of the programs are similar, if not identical, to efficiency measures already offered by each of the utilities. "It's a lot of the same programs that our customers have grown to like. The only difference is that this is something that we would be handling," said Brandi Davis-Handy of IPL. Incentives for customers include rebates for LED and CFL light bulbs, the installation of energy saving weather-stripping at low-income households and appliance recycling.

Utilities can use energy efficiency to help them meet the carbon reduction mandates proposed this week by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA says it wants to mandate a reduction of up to 30-percent of emissions from existing power plants that burn coal by 2030.

The programs would only be short term initially - Duke Energy's would be for 2015, while IPL's would cover 2015 and 2016. "The governor has said he wants to present an energy efficiency program for the legislature to consider during the 2015 session, so we need to wait and see what some of these details turn out to look like," Middleton said. The utility commission is expected to consider the proposals from utilities this summer.

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