The Indiana Utility
Regulatory Commission (IURC) has opened an investigation into the impact on
investor-owned utilities of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law on
Dec. 22 by President Trump and in effect since Monday. More specifically,
the IURC wants to know how the legislation--which reduces the corporate tax
rate from 35 to 21 percent--will trickle down to benefit utility customers.
To that end the
IURC issued this order on Wednesday: “The commission recognizes that the
approved tax reform will create benefits for utility customers because of
the reduced federal tax burden on respondents (investor-owned utilities). .
. . Accordingly, the purpose of this investigation is to review and consider
the impacts from the Act and how any resulting benefits should be realized
continues: “Because customer utility services rates today reflect a now
materially altered tax structure, the reform-derived benefits are accruing
today and going forward. Accordingly, the commission finds it is appropriate
and in the public interest for respondents (investor-owned utilities) to
immediately begin using regulatory accounting, such as the use of regulatory
assets and liabilities, for all calculated differences resulting from the
Act and what would have been recorded if the Act did not go into effect.”
Indiana Public Service Company, for its part, was unable to say immediately
what effect the corporate tax cut might have on its customers’ bills.
“The federal tax
reform bill supports lower costs for customers and infrastructure
investment--benefitting the communities we serve,” NIPSCO spokesman Nick
Meyer told the Chesterton Tribune.
“It’s too early to
tell the overall impact on customers bills, but we will be working through
the process outlined by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to
determine a deliberate and thoughtful process for addressing these changes
and their impacts. The last time tax reform of this magnitude occurred was
more than 30 years ago, so there are a lot of moving pieces we’ll be working
through as a company and with the commission.”