The IURC is investigating how utilities will deal with present and future overdue utility accounts, along with the impacts of COVID-19 on utility rates and services statewide. The OUCC requested the two-phase investigation on May 8, 2020.
The state's disconnection moratorium has expired. Consumers who need payment arrangements are strongly urged to contact their utilities now.
In an Aug. 12, 2020 order, the IURC required utilities under its jurisdiction to:
- Offer payment arrangements of at least 6 months, and make them available through Oct. 12, 2020.
- Waive late fees, disconnection/reconnection fees, and deposits for residential customers through Oct. 12, 2020.
The OUCC filed an Oct. 7, 2020 motion seeking to extend the payment arrangement and fee requirements through Dec. 31, 2020, along with a reply to utility responses. This motion was denied in an Oct. 27, 2020 docket entry.
In a June 29, 2020 order, the IURC:
- Denied a request from 10 utilities to recover lost revenues due to declining sales,
- Required utilities to offer payment arrangements with terms of at least 6 months, and
- Extended the disconnection moratorium for IURC-jurisdictional utilities through Aug. 14, 2020. Disconnections by Indiana utilities not under IURC jurisdiction are also suspended through Aug. 14 under Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s Executive Order.
In the investigation's first phase, the OUCC asked the IURC to order all jurisdictional utilities to:
- Extend the suspension of disconnections for an appropriate timeframe,
- Waive all deposits, late fees, convenience fees, and reconnection fees,
- Expand the use of payment arrangements to assist customers, and
- Immediately start documenting and accounting for assets and liabilities related to stayed disconnections, waived fees, and extended payment plans.
Phase Two of the investigation is expected to focus on longer-term issues related to COVID-19. Among other things, the issues may include consideration of appropriate methodology to review the reasonableness, necessity, and prudency of any COVID-19-related cost recovery requests in future rate cases.
- 5-8-2020: OUCC Petition
- 5-8-2020: Request from 10 Investor-Owned Utilities Regarding COVID-19
- 5-11-2020: OUCC News Release
- 5-22-2020: OUCC Affidavits and Proposed Order
- 5-27-2020: IURC Order Initiating Investigation
- 6-29-2020: IURC Phase One Order
- 7-15-2020: OUCC Response to Commission Info Request
- 7-15-2020: IURC Docket Entry on Utility Data Submissions
- 8-7-2020: OUCC Motion to Extend Payment Arrangements & Implement Additional Reporting Requirements
- 8-12-2020: IURC Interim Emergency Order
- 8-26-2020: Consumer Parties' Notice of Letter to Utilities
- 10-7-2020: OUCC Motion to Extend Consumer Protections
- 10-15-2020: OUCC Reply to Utility Responses
- 10-27-2020: IURC Docket Entry Denying OUCC Motion
All publicly filed documents are available from the IURC's online case file (Cause No. 45380), including monthly utility reports.
The IURC has jurisdiction over most Indiana investor-owned electric, natural gas, and water/wastewater utilities along with certain municipal and not-for-profit utilities.
Most municipal water and electric utilities have withdrawn from IURC oversight as allowed by state law, as have all of the state’s rural electric membership cooperatives (REMCs). The IURC does not have jurisdiction over municipal sewer utilities, telecommunications companies, or broadband service providers. In its petition, the OUCC encourages non-jurisdictional utilities to similarly suspend disconnections, waive certain fees, and expand customer payment arrangements.