Campbell pleads against rate increases in a letter to IURC members

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INDIANAPOLIS – Today, State Representative Chris Campbell (D-West Lafayette) sent a letter to the members of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission urging against a proposed rate increase on consumers as Hoosiers are left reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative known as Cause No. 45380, which was formerly two petitions (Cause Nos. 45380 and 45377) now consolidated, is the effort of several investor-owned utilities seeking economic relief from the public health emergency.

Campbell acknowledges that utilities, like most Hoosiers, have experienced economic hardship but remains firm in her stance against additional financial burdens on Indiana residents and businesses.

“No one should be forced to make a financial decision on whether or not they can afford to keep their utilities running,” Campbell said.

“As stay-at-home orders and quarantines are keeping Americans at home for longer periods, utility services are an essential commodity responsible for necessities like access to clean running water and providing the energy to work from home and connect to classrooms. We should be working to equip Hoosiers with every opportunity to succeed, not opening inquiries that could further burden them.”

Read the rest of the letter below:

 

June 9, 2020

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
101 W. Washington St., Suite #1500e
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Members of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission:

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is creating widespread health and economic uncertainty in Indiana. With over 2,000 deaths and record levels of unemployment, I'm deeply concerned for the potential outcome consolidated Cause No. 45380, formerly two petitions (Cause Nos. 45380 and 45377), would have on my constituents in Indiana House District 26 and the rest of the state. Measures taken by utilities to seek economic relief from the public health emergency, particularly related to the Governor's Executive Order 20-25 which rightfully put a moratorium on disconnections and waived certain utility fees, could lead to even higher rates on already struggling Hoosiers. As members of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, I am imploring you to side with Hoosier consumers and not entertain the overreach of private utility companies.

Constituents call my office daily seeking guidance and resources to mitigate the hardships of being underemployed or unemployed amid a pandemic. My team and I have learned that the hardships of COVID-19 do not discriminate, and many people have yet to receive a single dollar or any other form of substantial help from the state due to unprecedented demand and wait times. No one should be forced to make a financial decision on whether or not they can afford to keep their utilities running. As stay-at-home orders and quarantines are keeping Americans at home for longer periods, utility services are an essential commodity responsible for necessities like access to clean running water and providing the energy to work from home and connect to classrooms. We should be working to equip Hoosiers with every opportunity to succeed, not opening inquiries that could further burden them.

It is important to acknowledge that like the rest of Indiana, the usual business proceedings of utility companies have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. However, unlike the rest of Indiana, utilities think they should be the exception to the same economic hardship faced by the residents and small business owners of House District 26. While I am thankful for their efforts thus far, I will not support any overreaching measure that would put further financial burden on Hoosiers.

Sincerely,
 

Chris Campbell
State Representative
Indiana House District 26

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