NewsPublic AffairsEnvironment / July 14, 2014

Councilors Call On IPL To Phase Out Coal Faster

Sam Klemet
Councilors Call On IPL To Phase Out Coal Faster

Indianapolis City County Councilors are calling on IPL to stop burning coal in the city by 2020. 

But, the electric company says doing so will come on the backs of customers.

IPL is preparing a new 20-year plan on how it’s going to generate electricity in the city. The company is committing to converting two units to natural gas, but will keep one boiler burning coal until 2034.

Councilor Zach Adamson says that’s not acceptable.

"I think that they can definitely, easily make that transition much quicker than they are proposing, actually much quicker than we are asking them to do," said Adamson.  "But, I think ours is a nice compromise."

Adamson and fellow Democratic Councilor Bill Oliver are sponsoring a resolution to have IPL phase out all coal burning by 2020. The measure has bipartisan support from nine councilors. And Adamson thinks the plan will help find some common ground with the utility company.

"What we are asking them to do is still very, very conservative in the approach that we've seen other plants that have evolved out of using coal," he said.  "I found the representatives from IPL to be very reasonable.  I think they are smart people.  They are great community partners in so many ways.  I anticipate that we will be able to make some headway on this.  I'm hopeful."

Cost is the main reason IPL is going to keep burning coal at its Unit 7 plant.  Brandi Davis-Handy with the company says customers are already paying more for converting the other two units to natural gas.

"Our customers will see an increase of about two to three percent in their monthly bills and that started really in 2012 to 2018," said Davis-Handy.  "Installing those environmental controls in Unit 7 and then converting Units 5 and 6 to natural gas, that is the least cost option at this time for our customers."

IPL must finalize its new 20 year plan and present it to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by November 1.