- Associated Press - Thursday, April 6, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge to an Indiana Power & Light rate hike that will increase some customers’ monthly charge by 68 percent.

The Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/2oHZATu ) reports the court ruled Wednesday that it didn’t have the authority to order the state Utility Regulatory Commission to reconsider the rate hike simply because it would impact some customers more than others.

“There is no statutory requirement that the impact upon particular subgroups be separately addressed,” wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey, affirming the lower court’s decision to approve of the rates.

Opponents of the rate hike said ruling was “extremely disappointing,” and that they’re considering their legal options. They argued the two-tiered rate system would have a disproportionate effect on poor customers and encourage waste.

The rate increase took effect on March 31, 2016, after the utility announced it would raise rates for the first time in 20 years. Civic groups including Citizens Action Coalition, which advocates for fair energy policies, sued the utility over the fixed customer charge.

The flat fee for access to the electrical grid would rise from $6.70 per month to $11.25 per month for customers using up to 325 kilowatt hours, and from $11 to $17 for customers using over 325 kilowatt hours.

The coalition and other opponents contested the rate hikes and the manner in which they were calculated, as the per unit price decreases when energy use increases.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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