Chesterton Tribune



Will corporate tax cut trickle down to utility customers? IURC wants to know

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The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) has opened an investigation into the impact on investor-owned utilities of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law on Dec. 22 by President Trump and in effect since Monday. More specifically, the IURC wants to know how the legislation--which reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent--will trickle down to benefit utility customers.

To that end the IURC issued this order on Wednesday: “The commission recognizes that the approved tax reform will create benefits for utility customers because of the reduced federal tax burden on respondents (investor-owned utilities). . . . Accordingly, the purpose of this investigation is to review and consider the impacts from the Act and how any resulting benefits should be realized by customers.”

The order continues: “Because customer utility services rates today reflect a now materially altered tax structure, the reform-derived benefits are accruing today and going forward. Accordingly, the commission finds it is appropriate and in the public interest for respondents (investor-owned utilities) to immediately begin using regulatory accounting, such as the use of regulatory assets and liabilities, for all calculated differences resulting from the Act and what would have been recorded if the Act did not go into effect.”

The Northern Indiana Public Service Company, for its part, was unable to say immediately what effect the corporate tax cut might have on its customers’ bills.

“The federal tax reform bill supports lower costs for customers and infrastructure investment--benefitting the communities we serve,” NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer told the Chesterton Tribune.

“It’s too early to tell the overall impact on customers bills, but we will be working through the process outlined by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to determine a deliberate and thoughtful process for addressing these changes and their impacts. The last time tax reform of this magnitude occurred was more than 30 years ago, so there are a lot of moving pieces we’ll be working through as a company and with the commission.”


Posted 1/4/2018





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