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It is Time for Vectren to Explain Why SW Indiana is an Island of Exorbitant Electricity Rates
The City County Observer has launched an investigative effort to determine just how much difference that there is in the residential electrical rates that people in SW Indiana are charged and why such a vast difference exists. To start we will state that Vectren’s current residential rate is 12.49 cents per KWh but that they have a request in to the State of Indiana to raise that rate to 13.93 cents per KWh. This represents the highest rate within the Evansville region and even one of the highest rates in the nation.
We began by looking across the money saving bridge to Henderson, Kentucky. What we discovered is that Henderson Municipal Power and Light’s winter rate is 4.34 cents per KWh. To put this into perspective if you were to use enough electricity to get a $300.00 electric bill from Vectren that same bill in Henderson would be $104.24. The $195.76 difference is enough to make the payment on a vehicle or even to pay for college textbooks for two.
Our next stop was to move north to the area where Duke Power provides the electricity where we found a tiered schedule where the first 300KWh are billed at 9.2945 cents per KWh, the next 700 at 5.4178 cents per KWh, and anything over 1,000 KWh per month is billed at 4.4464 cents per KWh. Your $300.00 Vectren bill in Vincennes, Terre Haute or any other Indiana based Duke Energy market would therefore be $126.23. That is not as cheap as Henderson but it is much lower than Vectren charges Evansville area customers.
Going east and north to Jasper, Indiana we found another tiered rate structure that is high for low users and lower for larger users of electricity. Jasper homeowners pay a total of $178.28 for the same electricity that Vectren’s Evansville customers would be billed $300.00 for.
We found similar large differences in what we in Vectren’s legislated monopoly pay relative to Owensboro and Louisville both of which enjoy rates that are over 40% cheaper than Vectren and to the west in Mount Vernon Illinois. To the south we checked significant cities all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and did not find any rates that are even close to Vectren’s. When we headed north we found one that is currently just a little bit more expensive than here in Chicago that averages 13.1 cents per KWh. If the State of Indiana passes Vectren’s request to increase the residential rate to 13.93 cents per KWh our rates will pass Chicago’s and we can safely say that “Evansville has the highest priced electricity from the Gulf of Mexico north beyond Chicago. We did not bother to check further north.
The City County Observer believes that for a region that likes to advertise itself as having a low cost of living that this island of excessive electricity pricing is ridiculous. Whatever money that residents of SW Indiana may be saving in low housing costs are heading right up the chimney and into the pockets of a monopoly. Electrons pretty much look the same and do the same things no matter where one buys them. Electricity is a commodity just like gasoline, grain, pork bellies, and gold. There always seems to be a slight price advantage to crossing the money saving bridge of 3% due to tax differences but for the most part things cost similar amounts.
Let us examine a hard commodity like gold which like electricity comes to us from mining and processing. Gold is currently priced at $1,386 per ounce. Where would you buy gold if it were $1,386 per ounce in Henderson but $3,989 per ounce in Evansville? The percentage differences for those two gold prices are exactly the difference in the commodity that we call electricity. The only difference in these markets is that Vectren enjoys and exploits a legislated monopoly and peddlers of gold can’t do so because of portability.
The City County Observer has offered the Vectren Corporation our front page with their explanation of just how a price differential of 188% can be justified by the width of the Ohio River or the 50 mile drive to another city. We have not received the courtesy of a response. We continue to offer them an opportunity to respond to this offer in unedited fashion. We and the people of Evansville deserve and explanation for this corporate largesse.
If you wish to send an email question to Vectren you may do so at the following link: