Energy efficiency bill moves forward

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indiana Senate cast a vote that upset environmentalists on Monday. Now, the bill goes to the governor.

Monday afternoon, the Senate approved a proposal to phase-out an energy conservation program at the end of the year.

The sponsor, State Senator Jim Merritt, said he wants to make sure the program is a wise use of money. The Republican from Indianapolis said the program has cost ratepayers $500 million, so far. He predicted it could cost as much as $2 billion by 2019 when the program is scheduled to end.

Energizing Indiana, as the program is known, began in 2009 by order of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The conservation measures have been funded by a $1.50 fee on your utility bill.

Industrial energy users raised questions about the costs the program imposes on them. Merritt said the easiest changes have already been made. So, enacting new conservation ideas will be more expensive.

“If energy efficiency policies aren’t leading to cost savings, they aren’t doing their job,” Merritt said.

Jodi Perras of the Sierra Club said, if Governor Pence signs this bill, the change will cost hundreds of jobs and raise electricity rates in Indiana.

In a statement released after the vote she said: “In just its first year, Energizing Indiana saved enough energy to power 64,000 homes for a year and directly supported 400 Hoosier jobs.” 

The Sierra Club wants Pence to veto the bill.

Merritt said a report, due in August, will reveal the costs versus the benefits of Energizing Indiana. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s