- By not vetoing it, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence approved a controversial bill that kills the state's young energy efficiency program, Energizing Indiana, by defunding it as of the end of this year.
- Jodi Perras, the Indiana representative for Sierra Club' Beyond Coal Campaign, said the decision "makes Indiana the first state in the nation to roll back its energy savings goals."
- Pence said he had problems with the program but did not want to actively endorse killing it by putting his signature on the bill. He is telling the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to devise another program with an opt-out for large customers, so he can introduce it as legislation next year.
A bill that started out in the Legislature to let big industrial customers opt out of the efficiency program and its fees somehow morphed into something that did away with Energizing Indiana altogether. Pence, heavily lobbied on the matter, appears to have tried to thread the needle. He called the program "worthwhile," and thus did not sign the bill killing it. But he could not veto the measure, either, because the program costs consumers and makes industries less competitive.
It remains to be seen how this messy situation will play out over the next year, but there's little doubt fertile ground is laid for interest groups to try for all kinds of program changes as the IURC writes a new proposal. As for now, clearly, cutting a program off in the middle of its startup years doesn't help it grow.