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AES Indiana Customers could be paying more to keep the lights on

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 16:56:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS — If you are an AES customer, you could be paying more this fall to keep your lights on.

AES is proposing a roughly 19% rate increase for it's customers, that's roughly $24 additional on the average monthly bill.

The company claims the proposal is to help offset the significant increase in natural gas prices.

Ben Inskeep with Citizens Action Coalition said it's just too much.

"[It's a] big increase in customers bills. So customers are really going to be feeling the pinch," Inskeep said. "Customers that can't afford their bills already."

In a statement sent to WRTV, AES said they don't benefit from the fuel adjustment charge. They add that natural gas prices have increased by 288%.

The Fuel Adjustment Charge (FAC) mechanism reflects changes in fuel and purchased power costs to meet a utility’s load requirements. The FAC is set and approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) in the FAC proceedings which occur on a quarterly basis. The FAC ensures customers ultimately experience the actual cost of the fuel and purchased power in their rates. In some cases, this results in credits to our customers.

The FAC factor does not result in any profit to AES Indiana.

Natural gas prices have increased significantly, 288% higher, for the forecast period of September 2022 through November 2022, versus the same forecast period one year ago. This is a major driver in the increase of $24.39 or 18.90% for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month compared to our last filing.

The issue of higher cost is not limited to AES Indiana as market events and high prices are impacting utilities across the US.

If approved by the IURC, AES Indiana’s current proposed factor of $37.858/MWh will be in effect September, October, November 2022. The major drivers of this increase include the forecasted fuel costs and a portion of the FAC 135 variance already approved to be included in this current FAC 136 factor. The recent Eagle Valley outage is not impacting this increase and is not a part of this variance.

AES Indiana maintains its commitment to reliably serve our customers with the least reasonable cost options today and into the future.
AES Indiana

Inskeep says the proposed rate increase highlights the need for people to transition to clean energy solutions.

"Renewable energy, energy efficiency, these other types of solutions they don't have these very volatile costs. once you build a solar plant or a wind turbulent you don't have the cost of fuel that you have to worry about spiking all the sudden and impacting customer bills in the future," Inskeep said.

He said customers need to prepare for a rate hike now.

"Prepare now, now is a great time to take stock of your house. Figure out ways you can become more energy efficient."

There are things you can do to become more energy-efficient:

  • Improve insulation
  • Improve sealing around windows
  • Check seals of any place AC can escape
  • Use less AC
  • Set the thermostat a few degrees warmer
  • Change lights to LED bulbs

If the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approves this proposed rate increase it will take effect from September through November.

The Citizens Action Coalition is calling on Governor Eric Holcomb to have a task force on utility affordability for all utility customers.