CAC: Legislature Votes to Raise Taxes through Utility Bills; House adds eminent domain to bill

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   April 24, 2011  /   Posted in 2011 Indiana General Assembly, Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program  /   No Comments

Editor's Note: Here is another news release  from the consumer perspective on SB 251 and HB 1128 creating a Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard. This news release is in stark contrast to the news release from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). These divergent perspectives are posted here to give readers a flavor for the controversy surrounding this proposed legislation. State legislators have until April 29th to resolve differences in proposed legislation before they adjourn. Laura Ann Arnold

Citizens Action Coalition
For Immediate Release :  April 22, 2011                                                                

Contact: Grant Smith    (317) 442-8802 or Kerwin Olson  (317) 702-0461            
Once again, utility ratepayers, aka taxpayers, remain invisible to 104 of the 150 elected officials in the Indiana General Assembly.  On Thursday, both Chambers of the General Assembly voted to raise the utility bills of Hoosiers.   Two companion bills being sold to the public under the guise of “clean” energy, SB 251 & HB 1128, were both voted out of their respective chambers in overwhelming fashion. 
Kerwin Olson, Program Director at Citizens Action Coalition, said: “It is simply unconscionable to CAC that at a time when vital human services for vulnerable populations are being cut dramatically, 104 elected officials would raise taxes on hard working and struggling Hoosiers.  Let’s not forget, the utility bills of school corporations, municipalities, and other governmental entities are paid by tax dollars.  Rate increases are tax increases in disguise. ”
“These investor owned utilities are State franchised monopolies sheltered from risk and market forces,” stated Grant Smith, Executive Director at CAC.  “These monopolies earned over $3B last year in combined earnings.  To reward these corporations with extra profit for doing absolutely nothing is completely disgusting.  It is evident that the public doesn’t stand a chance at the Indiana Statehouse as the influence peddling of special interests lobbyists is clearly running our State.”
The intent of SB251 and HB1128 is as follows:
1)            To deregulate the revenues of utilities overtime by mandating State regulators rubber stamp their requests for rate increases.
2)            To allow utilities to avoid going in for rate cases.  Avoiding rate cases enables overearnings of utilities and conceals their books from public scrutiny.
3)            To shift all risk to captive ratepayers by mandating they pay for construction of new power plants before they generate electricity and even if they never produce a single kWh of energy.
4)            To create a “voluntary” clean energy standard which is nothing but a fraud and window dressing to grant the monopoly utilities extra profit for doing what they are already doing or planning to do.
Adding insult to injury, the House of Representatives added eminent domain for a private corporation, Denbury Resources, to SB251.  “Not only did the monopoly utilities get an undeserved raise, a Texas pipeline company gets to condemn our property. I doubt this is what the voters of Indiana had in mind when they went to the polls last November,” concluded Mr. Olson.
Click this link for the House roll call:
Click this link for the Senate roll call:
Grant Smith, Executive Director for Citizens Action Coalition: 1-317-442-8802
Kerwin Olson, Program Director for Citizens Action Coalition: 1-317-702-0461

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