Indianapolis Power & Light Co. customers would see less of a rate hike for an electric car-sharing program under a settlement agreement negotiated by the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.
The cost per month for a typical residence would be 28 cents, rather than 44 cents, the OUCC said in a press release about the settlement agreement, filed Thursday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
IPL is seeking regulators’ permission to bill ratepayers for $16 million in costs associated with extending lines and installing charging stations for a proposed car-sharing service by BlueIndy, a subsidiary of France-based Bollore Group.
BlueIndy has an exclusive agreement with the city of Indianapolis to provide the car-sharing service, utilizing on-street parking spaces. Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler opposed the rate hike, saying it fell outside the scope of costs that state law allows IPL to charge to ratepayers.
“We have taken into account the risks of litigation and the concessions the OUCC was able to obtain for the benefit of IPL ratepayers from the city and IPL following intensive negotiations,” Stippler said Thursday in a prepared statement.
Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition, said his group continues to oppose allowing IPL to bill its customers for a service that will be used by a relative few.
“This settlement does not change the fact that the captive ratepayers of IPL are being forced to subsidize a French multibillion-dollar corporation for a project that has nothing to do with providing electric service,” Olson said.Some people might say, hey, it's only a little more than a quarter a month, what's the big deal? That's not the point. It is not the responsibility of electricity consumers to pay so a private company can make money renting out electric cars. Mayor Ballard has already put Indianapolis taxpayers on the hook to pay millions of dollars to the private operator over the life of a long-term agreement by reimbursing the private operator of our parking meter assets for the lost revenues it will sustain from metered spaces taken up by the private electric car operator. A private electric car operator in Columbus, Ohio provides the exact same service to that city's residents without requiring a single dollar in public subsidies. Only in Indianapolis. Remember those three words because it repeats itself over and over again.
The drill here was no different than we see in other rate requests before the IURC. The utility always request about twice as much as it really needs to get, knowing that the OUCC will argue for something less, and the two parties will agree to a figure somewhere in between so it looks like both sides got something they wanted when, in fact, the OUCC was in the tank with the utility all along. You should have absolutely no respect for the OUCC. This agency doesn't represent consumer interests by any stretch of the imagination. The people who work for the OUCC should hold their heads in shame at how they sell out utility consumers every day, but they won't because they only got their jobs because someone in the utility sector put them there in the first place to do their bidding for them.