Gail Riecken on the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission


State Representation Gail Riecken

In previous legislative sessions I have attempted to impress the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) that many regulatory decisions are causing working Hoosiers great hardship.

My efforts in the Statehouse to bring transparency to the IURC were dismissed and seen as an attempt at political gain. Evidenced by citizens’ comments I have heard, especially at three neighborhood associations recently, the issues are real and ratepayers are struggling to pay their Vectren bills.

This summer I felt there was hope the IURC would listen to citizens. On August 30, along with Kerwin Olson, Interim Executive Director of the Citizens Action Coalition, I met with IURC Chairman Jim Atterholt. Chairman Atterholt pledged to hold a town hall style hearing in Evansville and to allow Vectren ratepayers to testify.

On September 6, I wrote a letter thanking the Chairman and asked for a confirmation of his agreement and a date the hearing would be held. I received neither.

The IURC needs to understand how people feel; they need to come to Evansville.

The IURC must experience firsthand how citizens feel about the recently announced increase in monthly fee. Not only is Vectren asking for additional profit to add to rates that already border on confiscatory, they are requesting a new “tracker” — the most damaging fee structure to our electric ratepayers.

The IURC must learn why, thanks to Councilman John Friend and others, there are over 10,000 petitions that have been signed complaining about the rate increases.

If there was ever a time that Vectren and the IURC could restore confidence in the public, it is now.

Vectren should present before City Council now and prove those wrong who say it is Vectren that is playing politics for not agreeing to a hearing before the local elections.

IURC Chairman Atterholt should schedule the town hall meeting he agreed to. He should prove the Commission can do its job, a job that obligates the Commission to protect the public from the negatives that can go with a system built on a monopoly, the job of protecting the public from rates that are hurting business and industry and rates that the citizens of Evansville can no longer afford.

Gail Riecken
State Representative, District 77


  1. Local utility ratepayers should be grateful to Rep. Gail Riecken for her persistent efforts to hold Vectren accountable.

    If IURC Chairman Jim Atterholt has reneged on his pledge to hold a town hall style hearing in Evansville and allow Vectren ratepayers to testify, that just makes it double bad that Dan Adams and Dan McGinn provided Vectren with free pass to skip out on the promised city council meeting.

    If the two Dapper Dans hadn’t given Vectren that back door pass, at least there would have been a record of public comment to forward to IURC from local folks who can’t make the trip to Indy.

    Thanks a lot, boys.

    • While I am grateful to Ms Riecken for her efforts I’m a little torn on the issue, you have a private enterprise (Vectren) that is regulated from top to bottom by state and federal regulations, a commission in place that may or may not be corrupt that either approves or denies their rate increases. I’m not sure what city commissioners can accomplish by having Vectren appear before them and testify to whatever they can or can’t testify to, the city commissioners have no power over Vectren, and while they can as a body lobby the IURC same as a private citizen I see little effect to be had. The petitions by both Mr Friend and Mr Walters have a more damming effect IMHO, but still it would be marginal at best.

      Then on the other side since Vectren is a monopoly in our area special consideration should be given when reviewing the city of Evansville’s population’s concerns, while I’m all for free enterprise, free markets, and against government issued price controls since the people of Evansville have no choice as to who we buy our power from it would seem some form of rate control should be in place, or a competing company should be allowed to operate in Evansville and let the market decide the rates….and yes I know Vectren owns all the infrastructure.

      The last thing any private enterprise wants is for the government to issue price controls on their products, and from the standpoint of any business owner the government has no business dictating pricing the consumer pays, the market dictates and controls the price in almost every instance except where the enterprise has a monopoly, which is what we have right here in river city.

      The fact that Vectren is a monopoly in our area and the fact that their pricing effects every person and every business in our community makes it an exception to standard economic conditions and controls which is what an average person would think that the IURC is all about, that is if it truly worked for the people.

      If I have any of that wrong I would appreciate someone pointing it out to me.


      • Blanger:

        Isn’t it shocking when you realize how little of our economy is actually “free.”

        Banking….government run
        Utilities….government run
        Automobiles…government owned
        Healthcare…largely government run

        • It seems as thought we are much closer to being a fascist state than most people are willing to admit and our schools would be terrified to teach.

          What percentage of our commerce is truly free. Hos, drug dealers, mowing yards, shoveling snow, and picking blackberries are the only unregulated things I can think of.

          • We ARE a fascist state in all but name.

            Government-Corporate takeovers of industry? Check
            Massive militarization? Check
            Slow decline in personal liberties in the name of “security” or “morality” or “protecting the environment” or some other such bullshit? Check
            People electing leaders because they look good on TV/read teleprompters well? Check.

          • Agreed….many small businesses that have operated basically free from government intervention for generations now have a bureaucrat nanny in the form of the EPA watching over their business, its funny the things that can be accomplished under the guise of protecting the environment. 😉


          • Oh, and I forgot to add: no transparency or accountability in monetary policy? Check.

            In other words the banksters get to inflate prices on everyday items, penalizing low income people, senior citizens, and savers, and the government gets to borrow money to support the military-entitlement machine…and the public gets no say in it whatsoever.

            Instead, we get distracted by such “vital” issues as gay marriage, environmental protection, etc…

            The cure for fascism is an armed AND educated citizenry.

  2. We all must thank Rep. Riecken for standing her ground with the IURC and Vectren.

    Now it is the time for more pressure on both Vectren and the IURC through letters, emails, phone calls and any other legal and creative means that would serve to get their attention and to make the statement that we need and deserve the attention of the state government NOW and do not intend to roll over this time.

    Even if you have signed Mr. Friend’s petition it is time to do more. The address, phone, and email for the IURC should be found on the internet. We all know where to find Vectren.

  3. the IURC would have to rent Ford Center to accomodate alll those who would want to attend such a hearing in Evansville.

  4. Gail Riecken is an ineffectual demagogue. After years of blather about the electricity rates Vectren charges she has accomplished precisely nothing. It is past time for her to put up or shut up, and give someone else a chance to actually get something done.

    • Can we assume you’re filing to run for that office in the upcoming 2012 primary?

    • Isn’t it ironic that “pulling a Riecken” (Fleeing the state) might be the quickest way for her constituents to avoid this pain?

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