Evansville — CenterPoint Energy, Inc.’s (NYSE: CNP) Indiana-based electric and natural gas business, Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company (CenterPoint Energy Indiana South), has filed a request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) for securitization of assets of its A.B. Brown coal plant, which should result in a decrease to customers’ electric bills by an estimated $60 million versus traditional rate making.
Last year, legislation was passed in Indiana allowing for a securitization pilot to benefit CenterPoint Energy’s customers. CenterPoint Energy advocated for the state law change to allow this pilot to demonstrate how the tool saves customers money over traditional rate making where costs typically are recovered at a much higher rate-of-return. As previously announced, CenterPoint Energy plans to retire the A.B. Brown coal plant in late 2023 as part of its long-term electric generation transition plan.
Securitization of these assets will allow for the removal of the remaining value of the coal plant from customer rates and effectively refinance them at a much lower interest rate. The remaining value will be financed, along with other qualified costs, through the issuance of low-cost bonds enabled by the legislation. If approved, customers should see a monthly bill reduction beginning in early 2023. Future savings are expected, as deferred costs will be included within the securitization. Securitization is dependent on plans to retire the A.B. Brown plant.
“Keeping our customers’ and other stakeholders’ interests top-of-mind, we are deploying a cost-effective strategy to help reduce bill impacts as we continue on with our long-term electric generation transition plan,” said Steve Greenley, Senior Vice President of Generation Development for CenterPoint Energy. “CenterPoint Energy’s transition to a generation portfolio consisting of mostly renewable resources is expected to save customers an estimated $320 million over the next 20 years. If approved, the securitization of the A.B. Brown assets is expected to save nearly $60 million over the same general timeframe.”
While CenterPoint Energy will be the first utility to utilize securitization in Indiana, this is an established practice that has saved utility customers billions of dollars in nearly 30 states. CenterPoint Energy plans to reinvest the proceeds from the securitization bonds into its generation transition plan and invest in renewable resources such as wind- and solar-powered generation and battery storage which will be backed up by planned natural gas generation resources to maintain reliability.
“Securitization allows us to reinvest in our state and provides a catalyst for the continued growth of renewable energy in Indiana,” added Greenley. “The increasing use of renewable energy for CenterPoint Energy Indiana South’s generation is also expected to attract new economic development in Indiana, especially from companies with environmental and sustainability goals.”
For more information on CenterPoint Energy’s long-term electric generation transition plan, visit www.centerpointenergy.com/smartenergyfuture.
CenterPoint Energy delivers electricity to approximately 150,000 customers in southwest Indiana in all or portions of Gibson, Dubois, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties. Programs and services are operated under the brand CenterPoint Energy by Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company d/b/a CenterPoint Energy Indiana South.