Agency fights utility rates for electric cars

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm •  Published: June 20, 2014
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A consumer group and a state agency said Friday that Indianapolis consumers shouldn't face increased rates for electricity so that a utility can set up a proposed electric car-sharing program.

Indianapolis Power & Light has requested a rate increase to help pay for its part in setting up charging stations for electric cars that drivers could rent as part of the BlueIndy program, a partnership between the city and the France-based Bollore Group, which makes the cars and their lithium metal polymer batteries. The city plans to have the car-sharing service in place by the end of 2014. That's when 125 cars will become available at 25 charging sites, including the city's airport and shopping and cultural districts.

IPL has asked regulators to approve a rate increase that it says would raise an average residential customer's bill by 44 cents per month. The proposed $16 million total increase would cover unfunded IPL costs for providing electric line extensions to the charging sites.

But the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the state agency that represents consumers, and consumer watchdog group Citizens Action Coalition both filed testimony opposing the rate increase plan.

Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler said that while the community would benefit from BlueIndy, "we believe that the requested rate increase does not fall within the scope of relief allowed under state utility law." That relief, the agency said, is limited to costs related to providing electrical service to all of IPL's customers.

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