Inside INdiana Business

Indiana regulators to investigate COVID-19 impact on utilities, ratepayers

(photo courtesy of luctheo/Pixabay)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is launching an investigation of the COVID-19 pandemic on Hoosier utilities and customers. The effort comes two weeks after a group of Indiana utilities filed a petition with the commission to recoup lost revenue by charging ratepayers.

The IURC’s investigation is also in response to a petition from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, which requested an investigation. Both petitions were combined into one case.

“The Commission finds it appropriate, as requested by the OUCC, to conduct a generic investigation…to consider and address the impacts of COVID-19 and the Indiana Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Orders on the rates and provision of utility services by all jurisdictional Indiana utilities and on their ratepayers,” the commission said in a news release.

Governor Eric Holcomb issued an executive order in mid-March that included a disconnection moratorium for utilities, which has since been renewed and is currently set to expire June 30.

The IURC says the investigation will take place in two phases. In the first phase, the commission will request information from all parties regarding disconnections, utility fees, customer payment arrangements, and regulatory accounting.

An order from the first phase is expected to be issued prior to the June 30 expiration date for the moratorium.

The commission says a procedural schedule for Phase 2 will be established after considering the issues from the first phase. It will also include a request that Indiana utilities involved in the proceeding provide additional information in month reports.

“The Commission anticipates that impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic may not be fully understood for months, if not years, as the effect is ongoing.”

The IURC will accept comments from stakeholders and the public. Those wishing to submit a comment can provide it to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor by clicking here.