West Lafayette City Council fighting against rate increases from utility companies

The West Lafayette City Council is voicing its opposition on utility companies raising rates.. especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. News 18's Marvin Bills spoke with a city councilor today about their stance on the issue and how the state is working to handle it.

Posted: Jun 22, 2020 5:19 PM
Updated: Jun 22, 2020 9:39 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—West Lafayette City Council is doing everything it can to protect homeowners and small businesses from a move utility companies are working to pass.

"City council wrote a letter to voice our opposition to them attempting to price gouge residents at a time when we are at record unemployment and record business closures," said Kathy Parker.

City Councilor Kathy Parker was made aware by an environmentalist group called The Sierra Club, that utility companies are trying to raise rates to recover costs.

"There's a period of public comment and that public comment I think ends on June 30th," said Parker. "Anybody can write a letter."

A letter the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor would receive in which Anthony Swinger serves as the Director of External Affairs.

"A group of ten utilities filed a request with the commission seeking recovery of what they call lost revenues in rates," said Swinger. 

Swinger said Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is currently undergoing a 2 phase investigation. The first phase addresses issues of short term immediate consumer protection. Phase 2 focuses on impacts of rates and services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"That's where consideration of the lost revenue request by the utilities comes in," said Swinger. 

Swinger goes on to said that the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor has made a case that the request for lost revenue recovery should be denied.

"We simply don't think that is an appropriate reason for raising utility rates and it's not consistent with what state law allows either," said Swinger. 

Swinger said there are other avenues utility companies can explore to recoup loses rather than raising rates.

"There's a balance there," said Swinger. "We want to make sure that what ever rate the consumer pays is a fair rate and it's covering the costs that need to be covered."

If you'd like more information on this issue and how your voice can be heard click here. 

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