NewsPublic Affairs / May 28, 2020

State To Investigate How COVID-19 Has Affected Utilities, Customers

Article origination IPBS-RJC
A Duke Energy technician disconnecting electricity at a residence due to nonpayment in North Carolina, 2008. - Ildar Sagdejev/Wikimedia Commons

A Duke Energy technician disconnecting electricity at a residence due to nonpayment in North Carolina, 2008.

Ildar Sagdejev/Wikimedia Commons

The state plans to look into how the pandemic has affected Indiana utilities and their customers. This comes just days after Gov. Eric Holcomb extended the moratorium on utility disconnections for unpaid bills by another month. 

Consumer advocates worry many Indiana residents will face financial hardship even after the pandemic ends. They say the state needs a plan to protect customers from shutoffs so they can get basic services like electric, water, and sewer.

Meanwhile, several electric and gas utilities say they need financial relief too — which could mean higher rates in the future. Utilities have been losing money due to unpaid bills and less energy demand due to “Stay-At-Home” orders.

READ MORE: What Happens When Utility Shut-Offs Resume? Let’s Discuss It, Consumer Advocates Say

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana 2020 Two-Way. Text "elections" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and the 2020 election.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission plans to gather information from stakeholders and the public with the hopes of issuing an order before July 1. The IURC accepts comments online, by mail, or by fax.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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