INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) today issued the following statement on an agreement reached between the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), the city of Indianapolis, and Indianapolis Power and Light Company (IPL) on a proposed funding plan for BlueIndy, the city’s electric vehicle program:
“No matter how you want to portray this decision as something that provides ‘enhanced consumer protections,’ the city is still asking electric ratepayers to pay increased taxes for an unproven program that will not benefit everyone who is paying for it. It is yet another tax increase demanded by our mayor, who seems to come up with some new way to take money out of our pockets every week.
“We still do not know whether this program is feasible or not. The U.S. Department of Transportation is still trying to decide whether these electric cars are safe to be on our streets. We don’t even know if the program will be profitable, because there hasn’t been any documentation of demand and usage.
“But we are asking ALL IPL ratepayers – including those who live outside Marion County -- to support a program that will not be available in all areas of the city of Indianapolis, much less the nine other counties in the IPL service area. As I have said before, utility ratepayers must pay for the level of utility service they use. They should not be required to subsidize a private company bringing a new project to our city.
“I continue to be worried about the precedent that will be set if this project gets final approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). Will units of government gain the ability to tax utility ratepayers to pay for private projects? City officials have indicated that they would pursue such a course for other projects. In my mind, this is one of the major issues that still remains to be publicly resolved.
“Ratepayers are being asked to pay for the installation of the charging stations needed for this program, many of which will not even be located in parts of the city where people have limited access to transportation. In addition, many people will be automatically ineligible to use this service because they don’t have a credit card or a driver’s license.
“I will recognize that part of this settlement calls for installation of enhanced street lighting around the IPL service area. Shouldn’t the city and IPL be pursuing improved street lighting on their own as part of making the public safe, rather than offering it as a carrot to try and sell something that most of their consumers will never have the opportunity to use?
“I remain opposed to this tax increase. It is still taxation without representation.”