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CenterPoint Energy customers express concerns about proposed rate hike

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission held public meeting on Wednesday
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Many CenterPoint Energy customers attended a public meeting on Wednesday evening to voice their concerns regarding the company’s proposal to implement a new electric generation facility in Posey County.

[Previous Story: CenterPoint Energy emphasizes need for renewable energy with new plan]

Earlier this year, CenterPoint Energy filed an application with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for the construction of two natural gas combustion turbines to replace portions of its existing coal-fired operation.

The project is estimated to cost approximately $323 million.

“I ask that you do the right thing for CenterPoint’s customers and the environment, and say no to CenterPoint’s plan,” one meeting attendee said.

If approved, the project cost would raise customer bills by around $23 per month.

“It’s absolutely an issue of equity,” Edie Hardcastle, a biology professor at the University of Southern Indiana said. “People are being squeezed on all of their bills right now. Our costs are going up on everything, but our paychecks aren’t going up. To ask for a $23 increase per month on the bill for this investment in fossil fuels that we’re looking at for the next 40 years is absolutely crazy.”

Anthony Swinger, a spokesperson for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, says that while CenterPoint’s request is currently in review, it’s important to hear from those impacted.

“Our staff is heavily involved right now in reviewing the request,” Swinger said. “We have accountants, economists, engineers and attorneys who are looking over CenterPoint’s proposal very closely before we file testimony about a month from now. But public input in addition to that is very important as well.”

[Previous Story: Public hearing set over CenterPoint’s request to raise rates for natural gas facility in Posey Co.]

Members of the commission did not speak at the meeting, but recorded the comments for consideration of the proposed rate hike.

For those who were unable to attend the hearing but still want to comment on the matter, click here to learn more on how to do so.

People can send in written comments through Nov. 12.

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