IURC Denies Vectren's Technology Fee - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Vectren's new dollar charge to customers denied for now

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On Wednesday, state regulators denied Vectren's request to add a $1.08 monthly charge to residential electric bills.

Vectren wanted the increase to cover the cost of efficiency upgrades. Now, Vectren says customers will receive the benefits without paying for the technology, at least not right away.

It's the one thing we all use, and no one likes to pay for it.

"You make a dollar and Vectren takes two," said Vectren customer, Gladys Jackson.

"Parents now a days can't afford it anymore," said David Postin, a Vectren customer.

Postin and his wife, Lara, say they're relieved state regulators denied Vectren's newest proposed charge to customers.

Vectren representatives say the money was needed to reimburse the utility for dense pack technology being installed at the AB Brown Power Plant in Posey County.

The $32 million improvement helps the plant burn less coal.

Vectren says the $1.08 monthly charge to customers is offset by the $60 million in savings the technology will bring over the next 36 years.

"It lowers bills from day one, because it is an efficiency type project," said Chase Kelley with Vectren.

Vectren says they've installed one dense pack already and that unit has cut coal usage by 8%.

Now that the utility can't recoup the cost of the equipment immediately, Vectren representatives say they will likely wait until the next rate change to do so.

"The last one was approved in 2011. It's our goal stay out a number of years. We do not want to be raising rates in a economy like this," Kelly said.

Until the next rate change, Vectren says its customers get to enjoy the benefits of the new technology without paying for it.

Although customers say Vectren won't forget to be reimbursed when the time comes.

"We will see it on our bill, no matter what," said Lara Postin.

State regulators say the reason they denied the request was because the technology is just the cost of doing business, and doesn't meet the requirements of advanced technology.

Vectren can file an appeal within 30 days, but representatives say they don't think they will.

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