Three finalists named for open spot on Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC)

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 20, 2016  /   Posted in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC)  /   No Comments

Three finalists named for open spot on state's powerful utility board

August 19, 2016

A bipartisan committee has recommended three finalists to Gov. Mike Pence to serve on the state’s powerful utility regulatory agency, which approves utility rates for millions of Indiana residents and businesses.

The finalists selected Friday for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission are:

— Tim Jeffers, director of business development at CSO Architects and former chief of staff to then-Indiana House Speaker John Gregg.

— Sarah Freeman, senior staff attorney at the Indiana Legislative Services Agency and former Indiana deputy attorney general.

— Jeffrey L. Golc, former vice president at Harrison College, former spokesman for the Hoosier Lottery and former IURC commissioner.

Under law, Pence will select one of the three finalists to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Commissioner Carolene Mays-Medley. She stepped down in April to accept an appointment as executive director of the White River State Park Development Commission. Her term expires Dec. 31, 2017.

The state is behind schedule in finding a replacement.

The five-member IURC hears hundreds of utility cases a year and regulates $14 billion worth of electric, natural gas, telecommunications, steam, water and sewer utilities. It determines utility rates and charges, environmental compliance plans, financing and bonding—issues that affect millions of ratepayers and dozens of utilities.

The four other members of the commission are Carol Stephan (chair), Jim Huston, Angela Weber and David Ziegner.


For more information about the current IURC members see: http://www.in.gov/iurc/2378.htm 

NIPSCO 3rd IRP Public Advisory Meeting 8/23/16 in Merrillville, IN

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 17, 2016  /   Posted in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized  /   No Comments

NIPSCO's third IRP Public Advisory Meeting is next week!  If you have not done so, please register by following the link below.  In addition, the agenda and draft presentation have been posted.  As a reminder, the subject matter for this meeting is a deeper dive into NIPSCO's existing generation and the optimal replacement options to fill any supply gap.  At this point in time, NIPSCO is still also planning to hold a fourth stakeholder meeting to review the results of the IRP analysis. The date of the fourth meeting is still to be determined, but is expected in mid-September.

Below are the details for NIPSCO's third IRP public advisory meeting:

Date
: Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Time
: 9am - 3:00pm CT (10am - 4:00pm ET)

Location
:
Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza
800 E. 81st Avenue
Merrillville, IN 46410

>>To register, please click here:  www.NIPSCO.com/irp.

Please also feel free to review the materials provided at NIPSCO's first and second public advisory meetings.

If you have any questions, please reply to NIPSCO_IRP@nisource.com.

IPL Hosts IRP Stakeholder Meeting #3 8/16/16; View Documents and Participate On-line

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 16, 2016  /   Posted in Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL)  /   No Comments

IPL will host Meeting #3 on Tuesday, August 16. This meeting will be held at IPL’s building at 1 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. with a meeting start time of 9:30 a.m. and a conclusion time of 11:30 a.m. To register for IPL’s IRP Public Advisory Meeting #3, fill out the registration form here.

Meeting Materials for Public Advisory Meeting #3 include:

CAC files testimony in IPL energy efficiency case

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 12, 2016  /   Posted in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL)  /   No Comments

CAC logo

CAC files testimony in IPL energy efficiency case

CAC calls for IURC investigation into so-called ‘lost revenues’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    August 12, 2016

Contact: Kerwin Olson, Executive Director 317-735-7727

OR Jennifer Washburn, Counsel 317-735-7764

INDIANAPOLIS – On August 11th, Citizens Action Coalition filed testimony before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (“IURC”) in Cause No. 44792. In this proceeding, Indianapolis Power & Light (“IPL”) is seeking approval to continue their energy efficiency programs through calendar year 2017 and recover program costs, so-called lost revenues and financial incentives from their captive ratepayers.

 

IPL is seeking to recover a total of $33,703,197, of which $11,273,884, or 1/3rd, is either so-called lost revenues or financial performance incentives based on energy savings goals that IPL establishes for themselves. So-called lost revenues are the dollars that IPL allegedly loses due to reduced energy sales because of energy efficient improvements made by consumers which utilized incentives from the IPL ratepayer funded energy efficiency programs.

 

So-called lost revenues were authorized by Governor Pence and the General Assembly in 2015 as part of Senate Enrolled Act 412, which was the Governor’s energy efficiency initiative designed to replace Energizing Indiana. In the 2014 legislative session, Senate Enrolled Act 340 cancelled the successful Energizing Indiana program and also repealed the energy efficiency goals established by former Governor Mitch Daniels in 2009.

 

The calculation of so-called lost revenues is a matter of controversy, as each of Indiana’s five investor-owned monopoly utilities use different methodologies to determine the amount of so-called lost revenues that they collect from their captive ratepayers. Additionally, the audit and verification of the energy savings used in the calculations is performed by third-party vendors whom communicate directly with and are hired by and paid by the very utilities they are auditing.

 

In testimony filed on behalf of CAC, Shawn Kelly, the former Director of Energy Efficiency for Vectren and former Principal Utility Analyst at the IURC, raises significant doubt about whether or not the current methods of calculating lost revenues is equitable to customers and calls on the IURC to open an investigation to bring accountability, consistency, and transparency to the process.

 

“It is time to re-evaluate whether the way in which lost revenues are calculated actually provides fair and equitable rates, whether the process is transparent, and whether the calculations and presentations of such can be streamlined and made to be more consistent across utilities,” stated Mr. Kelly in his pre-filed testimony.

Mr. Kelly also recommends that the auditors who complete the evaluation, measurement, and verification reports (“EM&V”) used to determine the level of energy savings used to calculate so-called lost revenues work directly for the Commission, and not the utilities themselves.

 

“I also believe that the EM&V vendors are not truly independent—a requirement which is now law according to SEA 412 (2015),” continued Mr. Kelly. “A better approach to ensure true independence would be to have the Commission select and manage the relationship with the EM&V vendor/s. This could also have the benefit of creating consistency and potential cost savings to ratepayers who pay for the EM&V studies.”

 

In addition to so-called lost revenues, IPL is also seeking to recover a significant sum of money from their captive ratepayers in financial performance incentives which are based on energy savings level that IPL sets for themselves. Allowing the utilities to establish their own energy savings goals was also included as part of Gov. Pence’s replacement for Energizing Indiana in his energy efficiency initiative, SEA412 in 2015.

 

“The energy savings goals that IPL established for themselves pale in comparison to those created by Gov. Daniels in 2009,” stated Kerwin Olson, Executive Director at CAC. “IPL is proposing energy savings of 129,061 MWh for 2017, which is half of the savings goal of 252,268 MWh created by Gov. Daniels. Additionally, IPL’s own internal studies concluded that the company could achieve energy savings of 276,293 MWh in 2017, or 114% more than IPL is proposing in their filing. That’s pathetic. IPL can do much better”

 

CAC recommended that the IURC deny IPL’s request for financial incentives and that IPL be required to increase the level of savings to achieve all cost-effective energy efficiency in their service territory.  CAC also recommended IPL include additional funding and programs for its residential and low-income customers.

 

Most notably, CAC recommended that IPL create a comprehensive program to serve its low-income customers.  “I think this is especially important to get out ahead of considering the Clean Energy Incentive Program component in the Clean Power Plan under the authority of the Clean Air Act section 111(d), which encourages early action investments in clean energy, especially in low income communities,” stated Mr. Kelly.

 

The testimony of Mr. Shawn Kelly filed on behalf of CAC is available upon request.

 

Competition Exposure Still a Win for Indiana Solar Company

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 12, 2016  /   Posted in solar  /   No Comments

Competition Exposure Still a Win for Indiana Solar Company

Posted: Aug 01, 2016 11:58 AM EDTUpdated: Aug 02, 2016 3:50 PM EDT

(Image provided by Midwest Wind and Solar LLC)
(Image provided by Midwest Wind and Solar LLC)

GRIFFITH -The owners of Midwest Wind and Solar in Griffith say they’re still realizing the benefits of taking part in a solarization campaign that linked them to residents and municipalities in the northwest part of the state.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) partnered with several other agencies on the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge in 2015, and Midwest Wind and Solar was chosen as the exclusive installer for the Solarize campaign going forward.

The SunShot Initiative was designed as a national collaborative effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade. NIRPC Director of Environmental Programs Kathy Luther says that translates into streamlining the process of accessing solar energy for potential residential, commercial and municipal customers.

“A lot of the grant we received for the initiative was actually focused on educating municipalities, increasing familiarity with solar and reducing the costs of solar by focusing on soft costs, or red tape,” explains Luther. “For example, it typically costs three times as much to install residential solar in the United States as it does in Germany, even though the equipment is the same. Those two-thirds added cost are in things like time, labor and permitting.”

NIRPC and Midwest Solar worked through seminars, workshops and other education programs to bring participants in four municipalities – Hobart, Gary, Dyer, and Valparaiso – up to speed on the latest technology in solar installations and, importantly, inspector training.

“We started meeting with local officials about permitting, zoning and unnecessary barriers,” says Luther. “Areas that are unfamiliar with solar might require extra steps, extra inspections or have zoning or code amendments. We had a lot of inspector training and workshops in all four communities and were able to offer a lower overall cost for interested parties through a single installer.”

Marc van Dongen is the managing director and co-owner of Midwest Wind and Solar, which serves not only Indiana, but also Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota. He says the company’s participation in the program revealed solid support and excitement for solar energy in northwest Indiana.

“We were able to take our best practices from other places in Indiana and from around the country to show that streamlined processes can be integrated in a way that is sound, reliable, safe and fast enough.”

Luther and van Dongen agree that solar energy, especially for residential customers, can be a tough sell. Electricity is still considered very affordable for most Hoosiers and the return in electrical savings on solar can take years. Still, van Dongen finds that while the initial number of installations was relatively low, they continue to pay off.

“We very much see a trickle down from all of it. It’s a wonderful surprise at times that people call us and say, ‘You installed for so-and-so. We are way down in Indiana, but after talking to those people, can you come down here?’ We’re also seeing residential customers that lead us to business customers, who lead us to other business customers.”

“We’ve had great partners on this project,” says Luther. “NIPSCO has been great as well, and having everyone working together really smoothed the way. It was great to see how some communities were surprised at the level of interest in adding solar.”

Van Dongen forecasts the future of that interest in municipal buildings, via even more partnership programs. Schools, police departments and fire departments currently cannot take advantage of the 30 percent federal tax credit for going solar. He sees finance companies and investors stepping in to facilitate programs that will bring solar into reach for public agencies as well.

Midwest Wind and Solar Managing Director/Co-owner Marc van Dongen explains how a customized assessment can tell a customer if the solar investment will result in the reduction of their carbon footprint.
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