Local students, educators, and community residents marched in Downtown Evansville on Saturday to urge Vectren to reduce energy waste and lower energy costs for local families, residents and small businesses.  The march comes as Vectren has a proposal before state officials that will determine how far they will go in reducing energy waste for local families, and follows a People’s Hearing held by the Sierra Club in September where local community residents urged state officials to protect families and communities from high electricity costs by directing Vectren to do more to reduce energy waste. -- Shane Levy, Deputy Press Secretary, Sierra Club

Vectren customers have the highest utility bills in the State of Indiana – paying more than $150 a month for the average home using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.

“I’m here today on behalf of the families like mine living in Evansville who need Vectren to put Evansville First and invest in energy savings. As you can imagine, with three children money is tight and we need energy savings options to help us reduce energy waste and afford our Vectren bills.Yet rather than putting Evansville first and invest in reducing energy waste and  lowering electricity costs for our community, Vectren has instead put forward a weak proposal that falls far short of what their own consultants have  recommended,” said Kimberly Moore, Mom and lifelong Evansville resident.

Despite Vectren’s own consultant’s recommendations, in nearly every category Vectren’s energy savings plan falls short, representing a missed opportunity for our utility company to protect families in our community by reducing energy waste.  Citing unfair costs that would be placed on local ratepayers, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) this week recommended that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) reject Vectren’s weak proposal.

Vectren’s high electricity costs are placing a crushing burden on low-incomes families in our community, and forcing hard choices on the most vulnerable amongst us. In Evansville, 46% of working families are struggling to cover their monthly expenses, according to the United Way’s ALICE study.

"I am here because I know what energy efficiency programs mean to the community here in Evansville. With more efficiency, families can keep more money in their pocket every month and be able to save more for their future. As a USI student I am concerned with energy costs that are passed on to us through our tuition and housing bills. We have to show Vectren that the people that live, work and study in Evansville want to see them do more to promote efficiency and lower costs." Shelby Heck, USI Student

The average Indiana home uses 50% more electricity per month than a home in Michigan, and 30% more than a home in Illinois. Although Indiana’s electricity prices are lower than most neighboring states, Hoosier electricity bills are higher because Indiana homes waste so much energy.

Energy efficiency helps reduce energy waste and lower electricity bills, but monopoly utilities led the charge in 2014 to eliminate Energizing Indiana and gut Indiana’s energy savings goals. The statewide energy savings program was saving nearly $3 for every dollar spent and had saved enough electricity in three years to power more than 110,000 homes.