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CenterPoint makes filing with state that could reduce costs to customers

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Published: May. 6, 2022 at 6:11 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - CenterPoint Energy announced this week on an earnings call, they’re planning to make a first-of-its-kind filing with the commission that oversees utility billing in Indiana.

CenterPoint previously announced it would be closing the A.B. Brown Power Plant, this creates an opportunity for them to decrease costs to consumers.

CenterPoint says they’re planning to use a process called securitization, something that would be a new thing for the state.

“Generally speaking, securitization for utilities is a new concept in Indiana, and this is going to be a first of its kind case for the commission here,” said Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor spokesperson Anthony Swinger.

Officials with OUCC say securitization can happen when utility providers have assets they don’t use anymore but are still paying off. They can file to refinance them at a lower rate, reducing costs passed on to consumers.

When filings from utility providers are sent to the state regulatory commission, the OUCC reviews them on behalf of consumers and give the commission their recommendation.

They say part of their review process is hearing from consumers, and they can include consumer comments as evidence in their recommendations.

“Hearing from consumers is important because they may call our attention to an issue that we may not have been aware of, or they may be able to add insight for the record,” said Swinger.

This will be the second filing CenterPoint has before the state regulatory commission, the other is to build a power plant in Posey County, a $323 million request.

The OUCC says they expect the commission’s decision some time this year, and they already submitted their recommendation.

“In that case, the OUCC filed opposition to the utility’s request,” said Swinger. “Our analysis showed that it would not be the most cost-effective way of meeting customers’ power supply needs.”

For that case, they say they included about 1,600 consumer comments in their recommendation, which the state regulatory commission is required to review.

We reached out to CenterPoint and they declined to comment until they’ve officially filed, something they say they have planned for next week. To send your comments to the OUCC once they’ve opened a public comment period, visit https://www.in.gov/oucc/contact-us/.

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