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Pence, Critics at Odds Over New Energy Program

State of Indiana

“Worse than doing nothing” – that’s how critics describe Indiana’s new energy efficiency effort crafted by Governor Mike Pence and the General Assembly.  But the governor insists the program will keep more money in Hoosiers’ pockets.

Environmental and consumer advocacy groups say the new energy efficiency program is going to drive up costs for residential consumers.  Under the approved legislation, each utility company must develop its own energy efficiency program, and they can raise rates to cover any revenue they lose because of decreased energy usage.

Pence says the program will save Indiana residents money.

“Well, I just think energy efficiency lowers the cost of energy for every Hoosier,” Pence said.

When pressed on the issue of utility companies recovering lost revenue by raising rates – which has the potential to keep costs the same for consumers, even as they use less energy -- Pence stuck to his talking points.

“I really do believe, in energy policy, that we ought to take advantage of all the resources that we have; we ought to develop all the energy resources that we have,” he said. “But that energy efficiency, conservation, alternative sources of energy all have to be a part of the equation.”

Pence administration officials admit utility bills will go up, no matter what; they argue energy efficiency will keep costs from rising as high as they otherwise would. 

Any rate increases would still have to be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.