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A photo of power lines during the day

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STATEHOUSE — What you pay in utility bills may go up under a bill being considered by state lawmakers. That’s according to opponents of the measure.

The bill, approved by the statehouse and now in the hands of Gov. Eric Holcomb, would open up competition among utility companies in using power transmission lines, similar to how they already use distribution lines.

Your power provider is based on which distribution lines your home is wired into. Utility companies compete economically with municipalities in providing power through those lines. However, they do not do that with larger transmission lines that carry power over longer distances. Those are free and open for all utilities to use in Indiana.

The bill in question would change that and State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) is among those who say this is the wrong way to go.

“We’ve been fighting costs very dramatically the last 12 months, now we’re going to have extreme costs in the transmission lines and the buildout of those transmission lines,” he said on WISH-TV. “At the very least, I think we should try and do it in the most competitive and the most affordable fashion possible.”

The bill’s backers say high utility bills are the very thing the bill seeks to prevent. Chris Ventura of the group Consumer Energy Alliance says allowing open market bidding on transmission line projects has led to construction delays ranging from months to years.

Ventura says delays that long allow inflation to take a toll. “A year and a half a go, you went to go buy a dozen eggs, maybe a buck fifty, today, (they cost) $3. So, you’re seeing significant cost increases on the construction side as the delays result,” he said.

It’s not clear if Gov. Holcomb intends to sign the bill.