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Bill Powering Down Energy Program Becomes Law

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence says he could neither sign nor veto a measure that pulls the plug on a state-managed energy efficiency program, and that means Senate Enrolled Act 340, which ends the Energizing Indiana program, becomes law without his signature. Big business and environmentalists were critical of the legislation. The Hoosier Environmental Council issued a statement saying they're very troubled by the “rushed decision” to end the program. Pence says he's calling on state regulators to immediately begin to develop recommendations for a new program to replace it.
Governor Pence's statement on not signing the bill:
“Low-cost energy is an essential element of Indiana’s economic development and prosperity. The simple fact is that higher energy costs will cost Indiana jobs.  By reducing our need for electricity, we reduce our need to build expensive power plants at a cost to Hoosier ratepayers. For this reason, I believe that energy efficiency is an important part of our ‘all of the above’ energy strategy.
“As such, I was disappointed that the General Assembly chose to eliminate the energy efficiency program established by the previous administration without offering a viable alternative. For that reason, I have declined to sign this bill and acknowledge that this bill will become law without my signature.
“I could not sign this bill because it does away with a worthwhile energy efficiency program. I could not veto this bill because doing so would increase the cost of utilities for Hoosier ratepayers and make Indiana less competitive by denying relief to large electricity consumers, including our state’s manufacturing base.
“To ensure that Indiana’s energy policy continues to include sound efficiency programs that lower electricity usage and support economic growth, I am calling on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to immediately begin to develop recommendations for a new energy efficiency program that would include an opt-out for large electricity consumers.
“In addition, I have informed leaders of the General Assembly of my actions and my intention to bring energy efficiency legislation during the 2015 legislative session. I look forward to working with legislators to develop a new energy efficiency program for our state that will encourage conservation and promote a strong Indiana economy.”
Statement from Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda regarding Governor Mike Pence's decision to allow SB 340 to become law without his signature:
“By allowing SB 340 to become law, the Governor has become the first one in the country to repeal a successful, ambitious and foresighted program aimed at significantly cutting energy bills for Hoosiers.   And Indiana has become the first state in the nation to repeal an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, the best, most comprehensive strategy that states can employ to help cut the energy costs of homes and businesses.   The Governor’s decision needlessly creates instability in the energy efficiency market, when a careful deliberation -- before any radical shift in policy is made -- was what was merited.   While we will continue to work constructively with the Governor’s office on energy and environmental matters, we are very troubled by the rushed decision to stop the Energizing Indiana program, and remain extremely skeptical that any successor program will match the pace and scale of the current one.”


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