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Proposed IPL rate hike doesn’t sit well with advocates

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 29, 2014) -- A proposed hike in rates for Indianapolis Power and Light customers was "disappointing news," according to one user and consumer advocates.

The base rate increase, proposed by the company to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on Monday, would raise costs for all customers if approved.

An IPL spokesperson said the average customer would pay $8 more per month, in order to account for general business dealings like health care, safety and customer service. You can calculate your potential increase on the company's website here.

"This is the general cost of doing business," said IPL Director of External Communications Brandi Davis-Handy.

Not everyone was OK with the proposal, though. Customer Jay Sandefer told FOX59 he already did an energy efficiency test on his home and everything he could to cut his monthly bills.

"It's definitely disappointing news," Sandefer said.

Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition, also took issue with the increase.

"This is going to put a serious hit on those folks struggling to get by on a fixed income," Olson said.

IPL pointed out that it had not gone to the IURC for a base rate increase in 20 years, saying it would beef up energy efficiency programs and billing options for customers to help out.

"We’ve worked hard to make sure we have the programs available to help customers manage their costs," Davis-Handy said.

Still, Olson said that IPL has raised rates by other means. Customers will take on costs associated with a new plant and the renovation of the Harding Street Plant to eliminate its use of coal in the coming years.

IPL also asked for a small rate increase to pay for the city's Blue Indy car sharing service this year.

Customers like Sandefer told FOX59 they were already struggling under the weight of their many rising bills.

"I don’t know if I want to pay another $8 just for the heck of it," Sandefer said.

Olson encouraged customers who don't want to see rates increase to get in touch with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor here.