Is Customer Choice Right Choice For Indiana

December 30, 2013
By

Customer choice” may sound like a good thing, but according to some experts, Hoosiers need to be aware of the risks of deregulation. Efforts are underway to develop a new energy plan, and one idea being tossed around is the “customer choice” option, where retail customers choose their own electric supplier. While executive director Kerwin Olson of the Citizens Action Coalition agrees new energy policies are needed, he said basic necessities like home heating must remain affordable.

“As we move forward with this discussion about regulatory reform in the state of Indiana (it is important) that we are mindful of the dangers inherent in deregulation and customer choice programs with respect to costs, especially the impact that deregulation has on the most vulnerable among us: senior citizens, disabled, and folks on fixed incomes.”

Olson said that with deregulation it’s crucial that proper safeguards are in place to protect consumers. Indiana was once among states with the lowest electric rates in the nation, but now ranks 23rd, up into the top half.

Those in favor of deregulation claim competitive electricity markets keep prices down and provide consumers more options. But according to Tyson Slocum, director of the Public Citizens Energy Program, which advocates for affordable energy policies, it can actually result in higher prices because of hidden fees and deceptive marketing.

“These retail providers often do not advertise well ‘balloon payments,’ they will market (to) you that you will save money in the first couple of months while failing to mention that rates will increase significantly after that period.”

Slocum said that if Indiana decides to move forward with a customer choice option, there have to be clear prohibitions on unscrupulous practices and a consumer bill of rights needs to be written into the contract.

“There has to be rights by the household if they have a complaint with this retail provider to exit that contractual agreement and return to the incumbent utility without facing a penalty,” he declared.

The state’s current energy blueprint was developed in 2006 and costs have risen since then. The Indiana Office of Energy Development is crafting new energy policy recommendations and will submit them to Governor Mike Pence in June of 2014.

Listen Live

Upcoming Events

Dec
31
Wed
12:00 am 2015 Batesville Youth Baseball/S...
2015 Batesville Youth Baseball/S...
Dec 31 @ 12:00 am – Mar 14 @ 12:00 am
Registration is open online 24/7 go to www.batesvillebaberuth.com and click on the “Register Now” link. Early registration Discount $5.00 per registration if completed IN JANUARY The spring/summer season will run from April 25th through July 2nd. All games will be through the week excluding April 25th to avoid conflict with spring soccer You can also register in person at the Batesville firehouse. Registration days: January 31, 2015- 9:00 to noon February 21, 2015- 9:00 to noon March 7, 2015- 9:00 to noon  
Jan
1
Thu
9:00 am YMCA January Incentive @ Southeastern Indiana YMCA
YMCA January Incentive @ Southeastern Indiana YMCA
Jan 1 @ 9:00 am – Jan 31 @ 5:00 pm
YMCA is where you belong! Community incentive to make being healthy a habit The whole month of January bring in 10 food pantry items and the $75 joiners fee will be dropped  
1:51 pm Patriotic Art Contest
Patriotic Art Contest
Jan 1 @ 1:51 pm – Mar 31 @ 11:59 pm
The Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 3183 is sponsoring an art contest for students in grades 9-12. The contest is a great way to earn money for college. The art must be on paper or canvas and have a patriotic theme. Digital Art is not accepted. The art must be original. Judging is based on originality, presentation, and patriotism expressed. There are monetary awards given locally and at the state level. The national winners will receive scholarships. Home schooled students are eligible, foreign exchange are not. Your entry must be signed by a teacher. You can obtain an entry form by calling Kay Pulskamp, chairperson at 934-3442. Please submit your art by March 31, 2015. The first place winner will be sent to the State Scholarships Chairman for judging. Your art will be returned to you after judging is complete. Additional info/rules may be reviewed at www.ladiesauxvfw.org/programs/scholarships.html

View Calendar