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Indiana Power Company Gets Approval To Hike Customer Rates for Its Aging Coal Plants

Decision will cost residents and hold Indianapolis back
August 14, 2013
Indianapolis, IN —

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) today approved Indianapolis Power & Light’s (IPL) request to raise rates on customers to fund $511 million alterations at its coal-fired power plants in Petersburg and the Indianapolis-based Harding Street plant.

The following statement is from Earthjustice Managing Attorney Shannon Fisk:

“Throughout the country, utilities, consumer advocates, industrial interests, and others are realizing that it makes no sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on aging coal plants. It’s disappointing that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission rejected this trend and accepted IPL’s unreasonable proposal to pour $511 million of ratepayer money into coal dinosaurs that make it harder for Indianapolis residents to breathe. Indianapolis is trying to build for a brighter future, and dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into aging power plants is not the way to get there. Despite this setback, we will continue fighting for a cleaner, healthier, more competitive future for Indianapolis and its people.”

Sierra Club Indiana Beyond Coal Campaign Representative Jodi Perras released the following statement:

“While we are disappointed with today’s decision by the IURC, our work to retire IPL’s Harding Street coal-fired power plant, the biggest polluter in Indianapolis, is far from over. More than 2,000 families, community activists, faith leaders, physicians and others have called on IPL to retire the Harding Street coal plant and transition to renewable energy. The Indianapolis Beyond Coal movement only continues to grow.

“Across the country, cities are moving beyond coal and transitioning to affordable renewable energy. In places like Milwaukee and Chicago, city leaders have stepped up and pushed for the retirement of coal-fired power plants. Iowa’s MidAmerican Energy, owned by Warren Buffett, is retiring seven coal-fired plants and will generate 39 percent of its electricity from wind by 2017.

“Meanwhile, IPL wants to lock us into a coal-fired power plant that is Indy’s biggest polluter, contributing 88 percent of toxic emissions from industrial sources in Marion County. For more than 55 years, the Harding Street plant has polluted our air and water and threatened our children’s health.

"Instead of locking families into a future of higher bills and more toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants, IPL should heed the calls of thousands of Indy residents by retiring the dirty, outdated Harding Street coal-fired power plant and moving Indy toward a renewable energy future.”

Glen Pratt, Environmental Justice Chair for the Indianapolis NAACP, released the following statement:

“For decades, IPL’s Harding Street coal-fired power plant has poured toxic pollution into our air and water, endangering the health of countless Indianapolis families. The plant has especially threatened those in low-income communities and communities of color. The major impact is from mercury accumulating in fish, which are used as a significant protein source by low income, inner-city people. We need to put an end to the environmental injustice that IPL’s Harding Street coal plant has wrought on our communities.

"Though we are disappointed by the IURC’s decision, we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that we are putting our city on a better and brighter path by retiring IPL’s Harding Street coal plant.”

Rev. Dennis Shock of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light also released this statement:

“Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light is very disappointed with today's decision by the IURC to endorse the proposal by IPL to spend millions of ratepayers dollars to upgrade its Harding Street coal plant. This decision commits IPL to burning trainloads of coal for decades to come, which will mean unhealthy air and higher rates for Indianapolis. As people of faith, we feel we have a moral obligation to care for the Creator's good earth. Despite today’s decision, HIPL will continue to call for IPL to retire its aging coal-burning unit at the Harding Street power plant.”

Read the IURC order.

Contacts

Liz Judge, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2007

Shane Levy, Sierra Club, (415) 977-5724

Jodi Perras, Sierra Club, (317) 296-8395

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.