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AES raises rates despite many customers missing bills

AES says over 400 workers are working around the clock to solve the various issues.
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Posted at 9:59 PM, Apr 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-18 21:59:55-04

INDIANAPOLIS — All AES Indiana customers can expect an increase on their bill in the next month, except those that aren’t receiving them.

“This is, again, one of our opportunities to be a better service provider to our customers and community,” explained AES spokesperson Kelly Young.

Since implementing a new billing system last fall, many AES customers have contacted WRTV reporting issues such as overcharging. Some even report not receiving a bill.

Now, AES customers will have an increase on their bill.

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AES offices in Downtown Indianapolis

In June, AES Indiana filed a petition with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission seeking the authority to increase the amount due from over 500,000 customers.

“There's a thoughtful way in which we're investing our dollars and being a good partner for customers,” explained Young.

In a statement provided to WRTV, AES explained the customer benefits that come with the rate hike.

Customer benefits from the new rate order include the elimination of residential customer disconnections on Fridays, weekends and certain holidays, residential customer late fees will be waived once every 12 months, increased investments in vegetation management, and greater protection for customers with Medical Alerts.

AES customer Dion Irick is frustrated with his energy provider as he hasn’t received a bill in months.

“Something million a month that AES is going to be getting. But yet we still cannot get a bill,” said Irick. “They could have taken meter readers, pencils and papers and calculators, and got us bills by now.”

Irick isn’t alone either.

AES shared with WRTV that around 10% of their 520,000 customers have experienced some kind of issue since implementing the new billing system.

“I’ve heard of people who all of a sudden get their bill and it's $500,” said Irick, who claimed many of his neighbors have reported issues. “It's just scary. And it's something that I could live without.”

Young recommends those who are not receiving bills or believe their bills may be inaccurate continue to pay what they have paid in years past.

“We are encouraging our customers continue to pay bills, continue to pay what they have paid, what seems consistent in the past so that they can stay up on up to date with their billing,” explained Young.

AES customers who believe they may be having issues with their billing are encouraged to call a number that has been created solely to handle billing issues at (317) 261-2085.

The full AES statement is below:

Investments to make the grid stronger and more resilient, enhanced customer offerings, and economic growth and job creation are all part of what AES Indiana customers can expect from new customer rates. After a nearly year-long rate review process, AES Indiana, a subsidiary of The AES Corporation, received approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to implement new customer rates beginning mid-May. This approval from the IURC comes after an extensive review process including public input and unanimous collaborative agreement with intervenors who represent the interest of residential, commercial, industrial and low-income customers.

With this approval, AES Indiana will continue to be among the lowest residential rates of any investor-owned utility in Indiana. Beginning mid-May, base rates will increase by approximately $9.36 or 7.2 percent for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh. This increase will be reflected in customers’ bills, in addition to adjustments to rider rates resulting from the settlement approval. By comparison, AES Indiana initially requested a 13.2 percent increase.

AES Indiana will also introduce several customer benefits, including the elimination of residential customer disconnections on Fridays, weekends and certain holidays; increased investments in vegetation management; and further protections for customers with Medical Alerts. Additionally, AES Indiana committed to contribute $50,000 in 2024 to the "Power of Change" program and another $50,000 to the Indiana Community Action Association, both of which offset energy costs for low-income residents.

As a regulated utility, AES Indiana’s rates can only be changed after approval from state utility regulators. AES Indiana filed for its regulatory rate review June 28, 2023.

AES Indiana provides several programs to help eligible customers effectively manage their utility bills:

  1. Find information here on energy efficiency offerings and incentive programs, including Virtual Home Energy Assessments, AES Indiana Marketplace, Home Improvement Rebates & Discounts, Smart Thermostat Rebates, and Weatherization & In-Home Assessments to help customers save energy and money.
  2. Payment options and programs are available to assist customers facing difficulties in paying their utility bills, including Budget Billing, Payment Extensions, and Preferred Bill Date.
  3. Several assistance programs are offered to help eligible customers stay on track with their utility bills, including:

    1. Energy Assistance Program is a government program that runs through May 20, 2024. Customers must meet the income guidelines to qualify.
    2. Winter Assistance Fund runs through May 31, 2024 for Marion County residents, and customers must meet the income guidelines to qualify.
    3. Power of Change is AES Indiana's emergency relief fund designed to help income-qualified customers with a one-time grant to assist with electric bill payments.