INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Gov. Mike Pence will allow Indiana’s fledging statewide energy-efficiency
program to end, saying Thursday night he will propose an alternative program
for lawmakers to consider next year.
governor said he would allow a bill ending the Energizing Indiana program to
become law without his signature because he wasn’t entirely satisfied with
the current program, but also disappointed that lawmakers killed it without
offering a replacement.
"I could not sign
this bill because it does away with a worthwhile energy efficiency program.
I could not veto this bill because doing so would increase the cost of
utilities for Hoosier ratepayers and make Indiana less competitive by
denying relief to large electricity consumers,” Pence said in a written
Pence said he was
directing the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to immediately begin
developing recommendations for a new energy-efficiency program that would
include an opt-out for large electricity consumers. He said he would bring
such legislation to the General Assembly in 2015.
consumer groups and companies that make energy-saving products had urged
Pence to veto the measure, saying it would end the program just as it was
seeing successes in helping homeowners and businesses cut their electricity
executive director of the consumer watchdog Citizens Action Coalition,
issued a statement saying Pence’s lack of action “will lead to hundreds of
millions of dollars in unnecessary rate increases in the coming years”
because of growing demand for electricity.
Jodi Perras, the
Indiana representative for Sierra Club’ Beyond Coal Campaign, said the
decision “makes Indiana the first state in the nation to roll back its
energy savings goals” and that the program had created jobs, reduced energy
costs and made homes and businesses more energy efficient.”
manufacturing and utility interests had argued that the program, financed
through a fee that utility customers pay on their monthly electricity bills,
had proven too costly and industrial users were seeing few benefits.
provides home energy assessments, low-income home weatherizations and other
cost-cutting efforts, including rebates on electricity saving products. The
program, which began in January 2012, has saved enough energy in the past
two years to power nearly 79,000 Indiana homes, according to Energizing
The bill prohibits
state regulators from extending or signing new contracts for the program
after Dec. 31, 2014.