City has new tool for economic development


ANDERSON — The Anderson Economic Development Department has a new tool that could help attract new investments or encourage the expansion of existing businesses.

The Anderson City Council approved an amended ordinance on Thursday that allows discounted electric rates for companies that meet certain requirements through a new program implemented by the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA).
The next step is for the city of Anderson to seek approval for the discounted rates from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
The amendment provides that council members will be informed of approvals and denials of the discounted electric rates within 10 business days of the decision.
The notification is to include the name of the applicant and, if applicable, the reason for the denial.
The council is also to be notified within 10 days of any changes in the terms of the economic development rider.
Tony Pochard, superintendent of Anderson Light & Power, said if an existing company invests $1 million or increases its electrical usage demand by 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, it would be eligible for a discounted rate.
The discounted electric rate will be 20 percent the first year; 15 percent in the second year; 10 percent for the third and fourth year; and five percent in the fifth year.
Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, called the proposed economic development rider to lower utility costs a game changer.
“This is a huge step,” he said Friday. “This directly impacts one of the opportunities we’re currently working on. Without question, it is potentially bigger than Nestle in terms of number and quality of jobs and investment.”
Winkler said the discounted electric rates can benefit several local companies considering expansion in Anderson.
“This could potentially help with the downtown grocery store that we’ve been working toward for some time,” he said.
There is no cost to Anderson Light & Power because the IMPA will discount what they charge the city for the electrical energy.
Pochard in May said investor-owned utilities like Duke Energy and Indiana and Michigan already provide discounted electric rates.
“This will help us compete with other areas of Indiana and the Midwest,” he said. “The customer applies with Anderson Light & Power and the city makes a recommendation to IMPA.”

- Source: The Herald Bulletin;