In 2020, the IURC opened an investigation of how utilities would 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 investigation on May 8, 2020. The Commission closed the investigation on Aug. 25, 2021.
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 were 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 was expected to focus on longer-term issues related to COVID-19. However, the case is now closed. Utilities will defer COVID-related cost recovery until their next general rate cases. In addition, certain utilities continued to file monthly reports on arrearages, disconnections, and related matters through the end of 2021.
- 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
- 7-7-2021: IURC Docket Entry Regarding Next Steps
- 7-26-2021: OUCC Reply
- 7-27-2021: IURC Docket Entry
- 8-25-2021: IURC Final Order
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 encouraged non-jurisdictional utilities to similarly suspend disconnections, waive certain fees, and expand customer payment arrangements.