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The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (Commission) is an administrative agency that hears evidence in cases filed before it and makes decisions based on the evidence presented in those cases. An advocate of neither the public nor the utilities, the Commission is required by state statute to make decisions in the public interest to ensure the utilities provide safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates.
The Commission also serves as a resource to the legislature, executive branch, state agencies, and the public by providing information regarding Indiana’s utilities and the regulatory process. In addition, Commission members and staff are actively involved with regional, national, and federal organizations regarding utility issues affecting Indiana.
Originally established to regulate railroad activity, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has undergone great change since it was established as the Railroad Commission in the late 1800s. By 1913, the agency was given regulatory responsibility over natural gas, water, private sewer, electric and telephone services, and it was re-named the Public Service Commission. In 1987, the General Assembly changed the name of the agency once again and the PSC became the IURC.
In its current role, the IURC no longer regulates vehicular transportation but does oversee more than 600 utilities that operate in Indiana. The IURC regulates electric, natural gas, telecommunications, steam, water and sewer utilities. These utilities may be investor-owned, municipal, not-for-profit or cooperative utilities or they might operate as water conservancy districts. The IURC does not regulate municipal sewer utilities.
Indiana statutes allow municipal utilities, not-for-profit corporations, co-operative telephone and electric companies to remove themselves from the Commission's jurisdiction by ordinance of the local governing body or a majority vote of the people in the municipality.
The Commission is a fact-finding body that hears evidence in cases filed before it and makes decisions based on the evidence presented in those cases. An advocate of neither the public nor the utilities, the IURC is required by state statute to make decisions that balance the interests of all parties to ensure the utilities provide adequate and reliable service at reasonable prices.
The Commission regulates various aspects of the public utilities' business including the rates, financing, bonding, environmental compliance plans and service territories. The Commission has regulatory oversight concerning construction projects, and acquisition of additional plants and equipment. The Commission has authority to initiate investigations of all utilities' rates and practices.
The IURC receives its authority from Indiana Code Title Eight. Numerous court decisions further define the Commission's function. The IURC also promulgates its "Rules and Regulations Concerning Practice and Procedure" as well as "Rules and Regulations and Standards of Service" to govern each type of utility.
The IURC is overseen by five commissioners who are appointed by the governor. Three of the commissioners, including the chairman, are of the same political party as the governor. The commissioners are appointed to four-year terms. Currently, the Commission has one vacancy.
The IURC has a total professional staff of about 75 people, the majority of which are attorneys, engineers, accountants and economists who review and recommend decisions on cases pending before the IURC. The IURC also has a Consumer Affairs Division that serves as a liaison between utility ratepayers and the utilities.