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The Verdict on Energizing Indiana: Missed Opportunities

PHOTO: A year after state lawmakers cancelled the Energizing Indiana program, a new report says it reduced energy consumption, saved ratepayers money, and resulted in job creation. Photo credit: shoothead/Flickr.
PHOTO: A year after state lawmakers cancelled the Energizing Indiana program, a new report says it reduced energy consumption, saved ratepayers money, and resulted in job creation. Photo credit: shoothead/Flickr.
June 15, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – The verdict is in on the impact of the Energizing Indiana program.

A new report from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission says the state is missing out by canceling the energy efficiency program.

According to the findings, Energizing Indiana created more than 18,000 jobs, while reducing energy use and saving ratepayers money.

Marty Kushler, a senior fellow with American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, says the report indicates that energy policy in Indiana is driven by investor-owned utilities.

"Utilities tend to not want to make their customers more efficient because they use less of their product,” Kushler maintains. “That's why we have seen reluctance on the part of utilities to put together programs that help customers use less energy. In order to overcome that, you need good policies."

After a three-year run, lawmakers voted last year to end the program, with opponents saying it was too expensive and made Indiana less competitive for large energy consumers.

The report says Energizing Indiana produced enough savings in 2014 to power nearly 38,000 homes a year.

The program provided home energy assessments, low-income weatherization, commercial rebates and energy efficiency education in schools.

Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition, says energy efficiency creates enormous benefits, including creating more jobs than the generation of energy.

"Not only are we creating more jobs by investing money in energy efficiency, we're reducing air pollution, we're reducing water pollution and moreover we're reducing the monthly energy bills of struggling Hoosier consumers – putting money back in the pockets of the folks that are going to spend it," he states.

Kushler adds that good policies are essential to achieving effective energy efficiency results.

"What Indiana had in place until they eliminated it was known as an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, and states that have that type of policy save four times as much as electricity as states that do not have that type of policy," he explains.

Under a plan signed recently by Gov. Mike Pence to reduce energy use, utility companies will create their own energy-efficiency programs and be allowed to charge consumers for the cost to implement those plans.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN