State Representative Gail Riecken’s Statement on Denial of Vectren’s $32 Million Fee Request


State Representative Gail Riecken

Today Vectren learned that when people in southwestern Indiana speak up, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) will listen. Vectren was denied its rate increase in entirety. Last August I made a formal request on behalf of ratepayers to hold a town hall style meeting in Evansville to listen to complaints. That meeting was held. I was joined by Councilman John Friend in the effort. He speaks passionately about businesses trying to stay afloat in this economy and the added burden of yet another electric rate increase.

This would not have been possible without the support, encouragement and initiative of the City County Observer to step out and print the facts. I want to thank Councilman Friend, the City County Observer and the IURC for their leadership and commitment to listen to the people. A special thanks to the Citizens Action Coalition ( for their counsel to me and other Hoosiers striving for just, reasonable and affordable utitilies rates.

Gail Riecken

State Representative, D 77


The Facts:

Vectren filed for a rate increase for the installment of $32 million in dense pack technology to improve efficiency to two units at their A.B. Brown Generating Station. The Cause Number at the Commission was 44067. It was filed on September 13, 2011 and ruled on today. Vectren stated the estimated bill impact for a residential customer would have been $1.08 per month. Vectren was seeking this unjustified rate increase knowing they have the highest electricity rates in the state. On average, the average Indiana ratepayer pays $100 per 1000kwh of electricity used. In July of 2011, the average Vectren electric customer paid $155 per 1000kwh used. Vectren’s rates are up 62.8% or $59.85 for that amount of electricity over the last five years and up 109% or $80.91 over the last decade!

Adding insult to injury, the Commission denied this very request in Vectren’s last rate case. Instead, the IURC ordered Vectren to file for cost recovery AFTER the projects were completed and “report on the actual improvements achieved by the projects.” Yet Vectren come back to the Commission and ask again for approval.

Vectren does not know the actual cost of the project and refers to the $32 million in their testimony as the estimated cost. They stated in their testimony: “It must be emphasized that the actual impacts will depend upon the actual construction costs… as the Project proceeds.”

Vectren wanted a guarantee they can recover all costs associated with the project and a rate of return (profit).

Vectren suggested that ratepayers will “see little to no rate impact” and promised that ratepayers will actually save money as a result of this project. The fact is the only guarantee that ratepayers get is that bills will increase to pay for the project. Promised savings are contingent upon the cost of coal, so if the price of coal goes up, which is likely, bills go up, regardless of this project.


  1. All other factors being equal if the cost of coal goes up, our electric utility bills will go up. Duh!

    • And when you buy your coal from yourself and are able to pass the cost on guess which way the price will go.

  2. After the IURC hearing and the short notice public meeting at the Coliseum, Vectren quickly added inserts to our utility bills claiming they they did ask to, nor were they going to add $1.08 to our utility bills. I got two copies of this statement, so they lied twice!

    This morning, on the news, I saw Chase Kelly stating that Vectren will come back in the future and ask for rate increases to pay for the dense pack technology currently being installed!

    It is interesting that the IURC refused the increase based on their interpretation of a recent law passed by the legislature that pertains to incremental installations of improved technology and not wholesale installation of cutting edge and UNPROVEN cost cutting technology. Just because Vectren can cut costs doesn’t mean they will cut our rates. When have they ever lowered a rate? The IURC made no mention of the hearing in Evansville having any impact on their review of the new law or their decision to refuse the increase, either.

    Next time Vectren tries to rob us with rate increases, make your voice heard. Stand up. Write state and local representatives demanding another public hearing each time and bring more friends, family and neighbors to the meeting until the room is overflowing with protestors. Tell the IURC we aren’t going to take it anymore!!

  3. Riecken sould have stayed in Indiana and represented her district instead she ran to Illinois to avoid the fight. It is time to go!!!!

    • Please get over this issue. Harping is not the way to carry your message. but then again I am not sure what point you want to make except repetition.

      • Why should rk812 get over this issue? Are we supposed to forget the childish antics of Riecken, Patrick Bauer and the rest of the cowards who camped out in Chamapaign instead of performing the duties they were elected to do?

        Gail was elected to represent the constituents in Southern Indiana, not the pandering agenda set by a life long political bufoon like Bauer.

        This issue is relevant until she either resigns or is fired at election time for refusing to perform her duties.

        • Never forget the fleebaggers heading off to Illinois the home of Obama to keep the will of Hoosiers from being done.

          • Wrong, wrong wrong. Gail, Leader Bauer, and the rest of the Fighting 40 were elected to represent their people. They exercised their CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. They are heroes!! Of course, we know that conservatives only think of heroes as those who send other people’s kids off to die in personal wars.

          • Hey let’s just protect the job creators we need more minimum wage jobs with no health benefits

          • That is better than no job at all Real Democrat. No job at all is what the fool you liberals put in the white house has delivered.

            ThatwhatIsaid, why don’t you try refusing to go to work and see how long you keep your job. The group that ran to Illinois were not heros. They were publicity seeking chickenshits and their actions assured republican control in 2011. Thank them for that.

  4. Thanks Gail, you saved the Vectren rate payers $32 million dollars.

    If only the male types have your political balls.

  5. Do all of you who are posting positive comments with regards to Mrs Reicken remember that she was part of the Democratic Bail Out. To call those cowards “Heroes” is Insane. To say they were protecting the Minority from the Tyrannical Majority is such a joke. We, the people of this great State of Indiana, elected those “Tyrants” to run the State Government. If you do not like they way they govern, then vote them out, DO NOT RUN AWAY LIKE COWARDS. HEROES??? What a joke.

    • To everyone that thinks the Dems denying quorum on the RTW bill was “cowardice” and that they should have “stayed and fought/done their jobs”, I would like to ask, would staying with a guarantee of losing been somehow more respectable? To just sit there and watch as the majority rammed through a bill with little debate and no compromises? Would that have been the right thing to do?

      Remind me never to ask any of you to be on my team, because I would rather use the tools available to do the right thing and beat back the tide of anti-worker policy, then sit on my ass and watch it all go down the sh*tter because most citizens don’t actually understand how legislatures work.

  6. I didn’t vote for you last but I shall this time.

    I’m extremely impressed in how you beat Vectren request for unneccasry rate increase.

    Oh, also thanks to John Friend and the CCO for fighting for us against Vectren.

    Wonder why the Mayor and his buddies at the Couier and Press ran and hid from this issue?

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