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Report: Energy Efficiency Repeal Cost IN Ratepayers Millions

Indiana's energy plan would have cut back about 136 gigawatt hours per year in the state, in addition to saving millions of dollars for ratepayers. (Dean Hochman/Flickr)
Indiana's energy plan would have cut back about 136 gigawatt hours per year in the state, in addition to saving millions of dollars for ratepayers. (Dean Hochman/Flickr)
July 24, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – The repeal of Indiana's energy efficiency standards four years ago has cost ratepayers millions of dollars and slowed job growth, according to a new report from the Applied Economics Clinic and Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana.

Indiana's short-lived energy efficiency program included projects like home energy assessments, investments in energy-saving lighting, weatherization, and educational programs. The new report shows the program created 19,000 jobs in the state. But since the program's 2014 repeal, that growth has declined, and ratepayers have lost out on about $140 million in savings.

Bryndis Woods is a researcher at the Applied Economics Clinic and is one of the report's authors.

"Energy efficiency is good for everyone," she says. "It's one of the most cost-effective resources that we have at our disposal, to not just save ratepayers money, but also it has a bunch of ancillary effects that are good for the economy at large and for the state."

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission passed the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard under Gov. Daniels in 2009. The program had asked the state's five investor-owned utilities to cut back on energy by 2 percent over 10 years. But, following pressure from utility providers and some manufacturers, the program was repealed under Gov. Pence in 2014. Indiana was the first state to roll back energy-saving goals.

Jennifer Washburn, counsel on energy and environment at the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, hopes the new report sends a clear message to Indiana lawmakers that the state is wasting resources.

"We need energy leadership from Gov. Holcomb and from our state legislature who continue to let our monopoly utilities run the show to the detriment of consumers," Washburn states.

Washburn says Indiana needs regulatory programs to keep costs down because ratepayers don't have any choice in which utility they must use.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - IN