Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler made the following comments regarding this afternoon's Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) order reinstating the universal service low-income assistance programs offered by Citizens Gas, Vectren Energy Delivery and Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO):
"The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) strongly supported the reinstatement of the Universal Service and Winter Warmth programs, and we are very pleased with the Commission's decision this afternoon.
"While utility customers who need this assistance will receive it, all customers of these utilities will benefit from the reinstatement of these programs. Over the last several years, these programs have reduced costs, including bad debt write-offs and collection costs that could otherwise be recovered through utility rates. The Commission's order also establishes a more appropriate balance of the costs of these programs between these utilities and their respective ratepayers, by requiring the utilities to make greater contributions to the programs going forward.
"We look forward to the utilities' implementation of this order by the reinstatement of these very important programs."
(IURC Cause No. 43669)
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC's mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving. To learn more, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC.
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