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IURC Offers New Opportunities for Renewable Energy; Hoosiers to benefit from significant regulatory changes July 21, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), IPL Rate REP, Net Metering, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program.
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IURC News Release

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission

101 W. Washington St.

Suite 1500 E.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

For Immediate Release

July 20, 2011

Contact Information:

Danielle McGrath

Office: (317) 232-2297

E-mail: dmcgrath@urc.in.gov

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) recently created new opportunities for Hoosiers wishing to generate their own power by dramatically expanding Indiana’s net metering rule.

After seeking public input around the state on the existing net metering rule, the IURC initiated a formal rulemaking and drafted a new rule that makes it easier for consumers to take advantage of the service offering. This initiative stemmed from proposed legislation during the 2010 legislative session.

Net metering is a service offering that allows participants to supplement their electric usage and mitigate a portion of their cost by installing renewable energy facilities, such as wind turbines or solar panels. If the amount the customer received from the utility is less than the amount delivered to the utility, the customer receives a credit on the next bill for the difference. The net metering rule applies to all jurisdictional investor-owned electric utilities.

“By holding public meetings, the IURC heard concerns about the existing rule,” said Commissioner Carolene Mays, the presiding officer over the rulemaking. “It was clear the rule could be improved so that more Hoosiers could participate and take advantage of its benefits.”

Significant changes stemming from the rulemaking include:

1)      A 9900 percent increase in the maximum size of an eligible facility from 10 kilowatts to 1 megawatt;

2)      Expanded eligibility to all customer classes (industrial, commercial, and residential) from just K-12 schools and residential customers; and

3)      A 900 percent increase in the aggregate sales level under each utility’s net metering tariff from 0.1 percent to 1 percent of annual kilowatt hour sales.

“The new net metering rule will stimulate growth within the renewable industry and make it a more attractive option for those who wish to use renewable energy in their own backyards,” said Commissioner Mays.

The Commission traveled to Indianapolis, Ellettsville, and South Bend in early 2010 and initiated the formal rulemaking process last fall. The effective date of the rule was July 13, 2011. To view the revised rule, please refer to 170 IAC 4‐4.2, which can be found by clicking here.

Other renewable energy initiatives before the IURC include feed-in tariffs and a Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program (P.L. 150-2011), which was passed during the last legislative session.

Feed-in tariffs allow larger producers to be compensated for the electricity they produce, an amount that varies based on the type of renewable energy. Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) was the first utility to launch a pilot program, under Cause No. 43960. IPL has since filed another petition to revise the terms of the program. Northern Indiana Public Service Company’s feed-in tariff pilot program was recently approved on July 13, 2011, under Cause No. 43922. It is the second utility to file a petition with the IURC.

The IURC initiated a formal rulemaking for Indiana’s Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program. The program is designed so that a participating utility is to reach a clean energy target of 10 percent of the total electricity supplied to Indiana retail electric customers in the 2010 base year by December 31, 2025. Interim targets are to be met and maintained by January 1, 2013 through 2018 of an average of at least 4 percent and January 1, 2019 through 2024 of an average of at least of 7 percent. The IURC will accept initial written comments until August 15, 2011.

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The Commission is a fact-finding body that hears evidence in cases filed before it and makes decisions based on the evidence presented in those cases. An advocate of neither the public nor the utilities, the IURC is required by state statute to make decisions that balance the interests of all parties to ensure the utilities provide adequate and reliable service at reasonable prices.

————————————————————

Danielle McGrath

Manager of External Communications

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission

101 West Washington Street, Suite 1500 East

Indianapolis, IN  46204

Tel:        317-232-2297

E-mail:  dmcgrath@urc.in.gov

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