Board backs electricity cost shift from industries

By The Associated Press

MERRILLVILLE — Consumer and environmental groups are arguing that Indiana utility regulators are unfairly shifting electricity costs from some large industrial customers to homeowners and small businesses.

Their objections come after the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved a proposal from Northern Indiana Public Service Co. allowing six large companies to seek electricity from other sources.

The utility commission says Merrillville-based NIPSCO faces a “unique business risk” because it sells about 40% of its electricity to those companies. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports they include U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal and BP.

The Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana and the Earthjustice environmental group maintain that decision will shift between $40 million and $60 million in annual costs from those companies to some 470,000 residential and smaller business customers across northern Indiana.

Citizens Action Coalition director Kerwin Olson said the utility commission’s action ignored the struggles of Indiana households.

The commission approved a NIPSCO rate increase that the company says will increase average residential rates by about $6 a month.

NIPSCO says planned infrastructure and environmental upgrades are included in that rate increase.

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