Indiana was once among states with the lowest electric rates in the nation, but now ranks 23rd, up into the top half. Folks are now considering the option of energy choice.
Public News Service – IN
Written by Mary Kulhman
INDIANAPOLIS – “Customer choice” may sound like a good thing, but according to some experts, Hoosiers need to be aware of the risks of deregulation. Efforts are underway to develop a new energy plan, and one idea being tossed around is the “customer choice” option, where retail customers choose their own electric supplier. While executive director Kerwin Olson of the Citizens Action Coalition agrees new energy policies are needed, he said basic necessities like home heating must remain affordable.
“As we move forward with this discussion about regulatory reform in the state of Indiana (it is important) that we are mindful of the dangers inherent in deregulation and customer choice programs with respect to costs, especially the impact that deregulation has on the most vulnerable among us: senior citizens, disabled, and folks on fixed incomes.”
Olson said that with deregulation it’s crucial that proper safeguards are in place to protect consumers. Indiana was once among states with the lowest electric rates in the nation, but now ranks 23rd, up into the top half.
Those in favor of deregulation claim competitive electricity markets keep prices down and provide consumers more options. But according to Tyson Slocum, director of the Public Citizens Energy Program, which advocates for affordable energy policies, it can actually result in higher prices because of hidden fees and deceptive marketing.
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