Evansville – Dec. 5, 2023 – CenterPoint Energy's Indiana Electric business today filed a petition with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) requesting an adjustment to base rates and charges. The regulatory filing, known as a base rate case, is the utility's first request since 2009.
The regulatory filing requests an increase to recover incurred costs associated with completed capital projects over the past 14 years to support safe and reliable service to the company's 150,000 customers, including:
- Transmission and distribution system upgrades to replace aging infrastructure and modernization of the energy grid;
- Automated metering technology that has reliably served customers for several years; and
- Projects needed to comply with federally mandated environmental requirements.
Additionally, the request is needed to recover costs associated with CenterPoint Energy's transition from a majority coal generation portfolio to one led with renewables, which includes the Posey Solar facility and two new, natural gas combustion turbines expected to be in service in 2025. With a continued focus on sustainability and cost-effectiveness, these projects are part of the previously announced generation transition plan to retire 700 megawatts of the company's aging coal operations through 2025.
“This request is based on the need to maintain a safe, resilient and reliable system to further meet the current and future energy needs of the southwestern Indiana region, said Richard Leger, Senior Vice President, Indiana Electric. “Our greatest commitment to our 150,000 customers is to maintain the level of service they have come to expect – reliably, safely and in a cost-effective manner."
Some key benefits southwestern Indiana electric customers have experienced as a result of the investments made since the last rate case filed in 2009 include:
- Since 2016, Indiana Electric has inspected and treated more than 80 percent of its wood pole population. Through this process, poles that have reached the end of their useful service life have been replaced, and the life of serviceable poles extended, thus ultimately reducing customer outages resulting from pole failures.
- Vegetation trimmed around nearly 7,000 miles of electric distribution lines, reducing the number of customer outages caused from vegetation contact.
- Additional distribution substations have been constructed to support regional customer and industrial growth and increased load needs. Significant investment examples include:
- Upgrades to serve growth to the Evansville Regional Airport
- Investments to support customer growth in Warrick County
- Infrastructure enhancements to retain and grow jobs and support increased electric load near Toyota's Gibson County manufacturing plant
- As a result of hardening the electric system by replacing aging infrastructure, while the number of storm events in the area have increased, the average outage duration associated with equipment failure has dropped by approximately 25% over the last five years.
- Smart meter technology and distribution automation investments work together to detect and restore customer outages automatically. Since 2021, our distribution automation system has allowed us to avoid nearly 4 million cumulative minutes of customer outages.
Leger said, “We have worked diligently and responsibly in the 14 years since our last base rate case to make prudent investments and minimize the impact to customers as we continue to perform our essential work. Since 2011 – the last time base rates were modified – CenterPoint Energy's total electric bill has only increased an average of 0.5% per year, which is well below the rate of inflation."
The total requested increase, which directly results from the base rate case filing, of $118.8 million is expected to impact customer bills no sooner than the fourth quarter of 2024. To prevent the increase from impacting customers all at once, CenterPoint Energy has proposed a phased approach. If approved, a typical residential customer would experience an estimated increase of $10.07 (6.5%) in late 2024, an additional $5.85 (3.6%) in early 2025, and finally $12.46 (7.3%) in early 2026 due to the request in the rate case. Once all phases are implemented including the full cost of service, which includes projects that would be recovered through current billing mechanisms, the expected total monthly bill will be approximately $200, based on average residential consumption of 799 kilowatt hours.
Leger added, “We recognize the economic challenges that many of our customers continue to face, and CenterPoint Energy provides a variety of options to help customers manage their bills, including energy bill assistance, home weatherization and billing assistance programs."
CenterPoint Energy is asking the IURC to review its investments, consider the value customers have received, and approve the proposed recovery of these costs. The regulatory process, which will include a comprehensive review by the IURC as well as the opportunity for the public to provide input, will take several months to complete, with a decision anticipated late in 2024.
More details about the rate case can be found at CenterPointEnergy.com/SmartEnergyFuture to provide customers with information on the rate case process and elements of the filing. Other resources to assist in managing bills year-round can also be found on the site.
About CenterPoint Energy
As the only investor-owned electric and gas utility based in Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) is an energy delivery company with electric transmission and distribution, power generation and natural gas distribution operations that serve more than 7 million metered customers in Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. As of September 30, 2023, the company owned approximately $39 billion in assets. With approximately 9,000 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this news release, the words "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "goal," "intend," "may," "objective," "plan," "potential," "predict," "projection," "should," "target," "will" or other similar words are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions of management which are believed to be reasonable at the time made and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual events and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Any statements in this news release regarding future events, such as CenterPoint Energy's ability to execute on its generation transition plans, including the timing and extent of CenterPoint Energy's retirement of coal facilities, the anticipated timing of and impact of the base rate case on customer bills, IURC approval of CenterPoint Energy's base rate case and phase-in plan, and any other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement contained in this news release speaks only as of the date of this release. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the provided forward-looking information include risks and uncertainties relating to: (1) the impact of pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) financial market conditions; (3) general economic conditions; (4) the timing and impact of future regulatory and legislative decisions; (5) effects of competition; (6) weather variations; (7) changes in business plans; (8) continued disruptions to the global supply chain and increases in commodity prices; (9) legislative decisions, including tax and developments related to the environment such as global climate change, air emissions, carbon and waste water discharges; (10) CenterPoint Energy's ability to execute on its initiatives, targets and goals and operations and maintenance goals and (11) other factors, risks and uncertainties discussed in CenterPoint Energy's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 and CenterPoint's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2023, June 30, 2023 and September 30, 2023, and other reports CenterPoint Energy or its subsidiaries may file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.