2014 Pence repeals Energizing Indiana program

Efforts to stop SB340 to protect Indiana's Energy Efficiency Program failed.  Gov. Pence became the first governor in the country to repeal the successful state-wide energy efficiency program, Energizing Indiana.

 

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One of the easiest and most effective things Hoosiers can do to reduce their environmental impact is to save electricity because Indiana gets almost all of its electricity from coal.

During the 2014 legislative session, Carmel Green Initiative joined with the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Citizens Action Coalition, Hoosier Environmental Council, and others in opposition to  SB340 Demand side management programs because it prohibits the IURC from renewing energy efficiency programs, effectively killing Indiana's most successful energy efficiency program, Energizing Indiana.  The IURC had been preparing to enter into new five-year contracts for the program amidst protests and delay tactics from the utilities.

Energizing Indiana has been a very successful energy efficiency program saving enough energy in its first year to power 64,000 homes for a year. The savings in energy dollars are good for families and the local economy.  Third party audits show Indiana is saving $2 to $3 for every dollar invested in this program.  Also, it has created as many as 400 direct jobs.  A recently released report shows Indiana's energy efficiency program has been more successful than prior utility-run programs and costs less than the national average.  SB340 puts a halt on renewals, effectively killing the energy savings program for homeowners and businesses.

In addition, SB340 allows the biggest users of electricity - industrial customers - to opt out of funding for Demand Side Management (DSM) programs which are used to fund energy efficiency programs, such as Energizing Indiana. It allows the state's largest users of energy to withdraw from the state's best energy conservation program.  Giving Industrial customers a free pass would unfairly and disproportionately shift the financial burden of administering the program to residential and small business ratepayers, and sets a bad precedent for future energy efficiency programs.  The most cost effective form of energy is the kilowatt-hour saved and the power plant that does not have to be built. All ratepayers, including industrials, benefit from avoiding the costs of building new generation, like Edwardsport plant. Likewise, all ratepayers should support DSM programs, even industrials.

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SB 340 Legislative Process 2014

Here's how it went down...

SB340, authored by Sen. Jim Merritt, passed out of the Senate 37-11. The bill originally allowed the biggest users of electricity - industrial customers - to opt out of funding for Demand Side Management programs which are used to fund energy efficiency programs, such as Energizing Indiana.

Later, the bill was amended in the House to "halt" Indiana's energy efficiency programs with a vote of 69-26.  The VanNatter amendment prohibits the IURC from renewing residential energy efficiency programs, essentially killing the residential, commercial and industrial programs.

Sen. Merrit concurred with the amended bill.  SB340 passed the Senate 37-8 on Mar. 10.  Here is how Hamilton County senators voted:

Sen. Buck - YES
Sen. Kenley - YES
Sen. Delph - NO
Sen. Schneider - YES
Sen. Merritt - YES

If you get a chance, please thank Senator Delph ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) for breaking with his caucus to vote his conscience.  Sen. Delph was the only Republican to vote No on SB340.

Sen. Merritt claims Energizing Indiana is not very effective and costs too much. But the truth is Energizing Indiana has been more successful than any prior utility-run programs and costs less than the national average.  What is really happening here is that Energizing Indiana has been so successful that utilities want to kill it because they're losing money. And it appears Sen. Merritt is more than happy to oblige. "Merritt, who is chairman of the Senate Utility Committee, also is vice president for corporate affairs with the Indiana Rail Road Co. Most of the railroad’s business comes from hauling coal, and its largest clients include utility and coal mining companies." Read more.

SB340 moved to the governor's desk, and Gov. Pence allowed the bill to become law without his signature. Indiana is now the first state in the country to repeal a successful state-wide energy efficiency program.

If you get a chance, please contact the governor to share your thoughts on energy efficiency for Indiana.  Click hereand scroll down to contact the governor online, or call 317-232-4567.

Governor Pence vowed to introduce a new energy-efficiency bill in 2015. Click here to read more.