CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Duke Energy is proposing a 15 percent rate increase for its Indiana customers.
Customers got their first chance to voice their opinions and give feedback on the potential hike during Monday night’s Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission public hearing inside Carmel High School’s auditorium.
About 50 people showed up to the hearing. Some were outraged with a rate increase they believe many can’t afford.
“There is nothing in this proposed rate increase or proposed programs that benefits residential customers,” said Duke customer Nora Arnold.
David Frye, business manager of Indiana Labor’s District Council, said, “An increase in an electric bill will affect many of our retirees living on fixed incomes.”
Duke said the average customer’s bill would go up 15%, or about $23 per month.
That works out to about 77 cents per day or roughly $275 per year
The increase would be 13% in 2020 and 2% in 2021.
Duke customer Julie Shadinger said, “I don’t have a choice. Duke Energy is the provider in this area and provides to the home that I live in, and so the choice I make is to be careful.”
“Like a lot of folks sitting here tonight, sometimes I don’t get raises every year. So $300 is, to me, is pretty precious. And I want the right to decide where I spend that money. And I don’t believe for a second Duke should be able to dictate that.”
The rate hike would result in a $395 million increase in annual revenue.
Duke officials said the extra money would allow the company to accelerate the retirement of some of its coal-fired power plants and add more natural gas and renewable energy sources.
Stan Pinegar, president of Duke Energy’s Indiana Operations, “We understand this and we don’t take this lightly. It’s a big ask. I think the burden is on us to show a value proposition for what we’re asking for. We intend to do that. There are many elements to this.”
While a few in attendance spoke positively of Duke’s community involvement, the overwhelming majority hoped their voices were heard and Duke won’t go through with the plan.
The Regulatory Commission is accepting comments online, by email at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov and by mail. The mailing address is OUCC Consumer Services Staff; 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South; Indianapolis, IN 46204.