Equal footing for energy needed

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What’s wrong with Indiana’s current utility law, and why is a bill that protects electric service territory (SB 309) needed?

There are only 72 municipally owned electric companies, like Greenfield Power & Light, which have the unique authority to seize their neighboring utilities service territories and assets. None of Indiana’s other electric utilities have this authority. NineStar Connect pays nearly $1 million per year in local property taxes, unlike Greenfield Power & Light or other municipal utilities who pay none.

Density is the driving factor for a utility to provide the most efficient, low-cost power. The historical seizing of service territory by Greenfield has resulted in the loss of growth in high-density development for NineStar Connect. This growth would have benefited NineStar customers, who are then forced to pay higher electric bills. It simply isn’t right.

It should also be noted that customers of Greenfield Power & Light will NOT see their rates increase if SB 309 becomes law.

For municipal utilities to suggest that the bill would stifle economic development on a local level lacks factual support. For example, Greensburg is thriving because of the Honda plant served by a local electric cooperative like NineStar Connect.

Any law that encourages public utilities – and in particular, local community based nonprofit utilities like Greenfield Power & Light and NineStar Connect – to work against each other and not for the common good of all ratepayers is short-sighted and not serving the best interests of all citizens and businesses in Hancock County or Indiana.

It’s time to put all public electric utilities and the citizen ratepayers they serve on equal footing under the law. That’s why SB 309 should be passed.

Michael R. Burrow, President

NineStar Connect

NineStar Connect Board of Directors

Jim Cherry; Ronnie Mohr; Kim Cronk; Richard Parker; Mark Evans; Joe Paxton; Beverly Gard; Don Shaw; Jim Gillett; Darrell Thomas; Phil Hayes; Steve Vail; David Heller; Richard Walker