Indiana regulators deny utility companies' request for lost revenue help

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on Monday denied a request from utility companies to charge ratepayers for the revenue that the companies expect to lose as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Multiple electric and gas companies in May petitioned the IURC for permission to recover lost revenue.

The IURC said in its decision that “Under the regulatory compact, at a base level, utilities are obligated to provide safe, reliable service and customers are obligated to pay just and reasonable rates for any such service they receive. The balance of this Order seeks to work toward allowing customers to meet their obligation while providing utilities the reasonable relief they need to help such customers do so. However, asking customers to go beyond their obligation and pay for service they did not receive is beyond reasonable utility relief based on the facts before us.”

The IURC also said Monday that disconnection suspensions should be extended 45 more days from Tuesday’s expiration of Executive Order 20-28.

The collection of certain utility fees including late fees, convenience fees, deposits and re-connection fees are also prohibited under the IURC’s Monday order.

Costs and expenses associated with COVID-19 and future cost recovery measures will be explored in Phase Two of the IURC's investigation.

Indiana Michigan Power, one of the 10 companies who filed the initial petition, said Monday it respects the IURC's decision and will continue to work through COVID-19 related costs.

"I&M respects the decision by the IURC to balance the interests of all concerned in these challenging times brought on by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team at I&M is committed to ensuring that when our customers flip the light switch, cool their homes, or operate their business, the energy to power their lives is available 24/7," said Toby Thomas, President and COO of Indiana Michigan Power in a press release. 

I&M also said that there is no immediate impact on its customers from the regulatory request. Any future impact will be brought through the public regulatory process. 

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