BLOOMINGTON—Assistant Democratic Leader Senator Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) released the following statement on the proposed electrical rate hikes by Duke Indiana for customers throughout the state:

“I am deeply troubled by these proposed rate hikes that would increase consumer electric bills by almost 33%, or about $42.07 a month for an average customer, according to the analyses run by Citizens Action Coalition. At a time when Hoosier families are reeling from unstable gasoline prices, continued inflation driving up groceries and rent costs along with a statewide childcare provider shortage, it’s unconscionable to me that Duke would suggest such a dramatic rate increase.

“In its proposal, Duke implied this rate hike was more than justified because of flat electric rates over the last four years. Those stable prices enabled families to get ahead on other expenses that have increased dramatically due to inflation. With this proposed rate hike, that breathing room would be stripped away.

“Let me be clear: the proposed investments by Duke funded by this rate increase are important. But we know very well that current Duke infrastructure—such as the Edwardsport and Gibson coal generating stations—loses substantial amounts of money, as highlighted by the Sierra Club. Duke should invest in cleaner, more economical energy sources that save Hoosiers money instead of relying on expensive coal power that contributes to air pollution. With those savings, Duke could make the grid hardening upgrades covered in this recent rate hike.

“I stand firmly against this substantial rate hike and urge the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to reject or significantly scale back the cost increases in this proposal. Furthermore, as I addressed in a letter with Representative Matt Pierce to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, I urge the IURC to hold a field hearing in Bloomington so my constituents can have the opportunity to weigh in on these price hikes.”