Indiana Kills Its Program as Ohio Seeks to Curb Energy Efficiency

By not vetoing it, Indiana Governor Mike Pence has approved a controversial bill that kills the state’s young energy efficiency program, Energizing Indiana, by defunding it as of the end of this year. The decision makes Indiana the first state in the nation to roll back its energy savings goals. Pence said he had problems with the program but did not want to actively endorse killing it by putting his signature on the bill. He is telling the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to devise another program with an opt-out for large customers, so he can introduce it as legislation next year.

In neighboring Ohio, State Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) has introduced SB-310 in the General Assembly. As introduced, the bill seeks to “freeze” efficiency and renewable energy goals at current levels. In doing so, the legislation gives utilities sole discretion to either continue their current efficiency programs or “amend” them with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Amending the plan could include discontinuing it completely. PUCO would not have the authority to approve any pending or new plans.

The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) sent a letter opposing the bill to Ohio Senate leaders, stressing the industry’s need for predictable markets in the state. “SB310 would certainly have a negative impact on the GHP industry across Ohio, clouding the future for scores of businesses and employees from distribution and sales through design and engineering to installation and excavation/drilling,” said GEO President Doug Dougherty.