The Indiana Energy Association (IEA) is a member-based group composed of the state’s electric and gas utility companies. Mark Maassel, president of IEA, was formerly the president at the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), the second-largest electricity provider in the state. The Vice President of IEA is Tim Rushenberg, a former lobbyist for the Indiana Manufacturers Association.
Investor-owned electric utility companies that are members of IEA include Duke Energy, American Electric Power’s Indiana Michigan Power, AES Corporation’s Indianapolis Power & Light, Vectren, and NIPSCO. Some of these companies have led efforts opposing the passage of renewable energy laws or are working to repeal laws in place. For example, Duke Energy’s Florida subsidiary has teamed up with other utilities in that state to oppose a solar ballot initiative, and American Electric Power (AEP) lobbied Ohio politicians to freeze that state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standard in 2014. AEP has also filed a proposal with Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission to increase electric rates to pay for its coal plants, and appealed to the state supreme court the PUC’s ruling that net metering should be valued at the full retail rate.
In 2015, IEA led a campaign to lobby Indiana legislators to add a fee to electric bills of rooftop solar owners, which will reduce the financial incentives to invest in distributed generation. And, while there are only 600 customers participating in net metering, the utilities were hoping to tack on the fee before the solar boom takes off in Indiana, thanks to the dramatic decrease in costs. IEA created a website, which has since been deleted, called electricfairness.com. The website featured a video by the Edison Electric Institute, which is now hosted on IEA’s website.
In addition to lobbying, Maassel wrote an opinion piece in the The Indianapolis Star titled, “Current net metering system is unfair.” He also submitted letters to the editors of several local papers as well as testifying on behalf of IEA supporting HB 1320. The bill was eventually pulled from the House calendar.