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Source: 106.7 WTLC / iONEDigital

INDIANAPOLIS — A group of 10 Indiana utility companies is seeking permission to charge customers in an attempt to recover revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The utility companies, including Duke Energy and Indianapolis Power & Light, filed a 36-page petition Friday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in which they claim the effects of the pandemic, including government orders and businesses closing or moving to remote locations, “have resulted in significantly reduced load and revenues for some utilities.”

The companies seek to collect lost revenue from customers and charge customers for “bad debt expense incurred” resulting from state orders to not disconnect utilities due to nonpayment during the pandemic. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order suspending disconnections until June 4.

The petition did not specify how much customers’ bills could increase if regulators grant the utility companies’ request.

“Many businesses have had to make difficult decisions to reduce and, in some cases, suspend their operations, which in turn has created significant financial challenges for residential customers,” the petition said. “Although utilities, the State of Indiana, and the federal government have taken unprecedented actions to respond to this event … it is unknown at this time how long the event will last, whether it will recur, or how significant the impact will be on Indiana customers and the utilities that provide them with essential services.”

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