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Vectren to Set up Conservation Program, Obtains Decoupling

A modified settlement agreement reached Friday between Vectren Corp. and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) requires the utility to establish a five-year energy efficiency program estimated to cost $4.315 million. State regulators included a decoupling mechanism to allow Vectren to recover up to 85% of the natural gas sales it loses by encouraging utility customers to conserve energy.

The settlement (Cause Nos. 42943 and 43046), approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), requires Vectren to advocate conservation to all of its utility customers, establish a call center to answer customer questions about ways to reduce bills, provide benefits to customers as they work to reduce their bills, and provide an on-line audit tool. While it approved the decoupling to allow Vectren to recover some of its conservation program costs, the commission denied a proposed alternative return on equity test requested by the settling parties.

An oversight board to monitor the budget and the program's progress will be set up under the agreement to include representatives of Vectren, the IURC, the OUCC, the Indiana Lt. Gov.'s Energy Group, the Energy Center at Discovery Park, Purdue University and the Alliance to Save Energy. Vectren will fund a portion of the program, and costs allocated to customers will be subject to an IURC review.

Vectren, headquartered in Evansville, IN, provides 560,000 central and southern Indiana customers gas services through subsidiary Indiana Gas Co. Inc. (Vectren North). Subsidiary Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Co. (Vectren South) provides energy delivery services to 140,000 electric customers and 112,000 gas customers in southwestern Indiana.

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