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Indiana announces proposed Duke Energy settlement

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Duke Energy Corp. has agreed to cap the cost of its troubled coal-gasification plant in southwestern Indiana at $2.6 billion, or about $700 million less than the expected cost of construction, as part of a proposed settlement announced Monday.

Duke Energy and the Indiana agency representing utility ratepayers, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, announced they had reached an agreement with the Duke Energy Industrial Group, which consists of six of the utility's large industrial customers, and Nucor Steel. The agreement still must be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Under the plan, customers' rates will increase by 14.5 percent, Duke Energy said. Without the deal, rates would have increased by 22 percent.

Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizen Action Coalition, said the settlement came as a shock to him. He said the power plant should never have been approved.

"The settlement on the surface appears to give Duke Energy far too much. The terms appear to be completely unacceptable to CAC," he said.

The Office of Utility Consumer Counselor had previously criticized Duke, saying it had concealed vital information from regulators about the plant, which has been beset by nearly $1 billion in cost overruns the company has sought to pass along to its customers. Duke has argued that it has managed the project prudently and should be allowed to pass on the cost overruns.

Critics have said emails obtained by The Indianapolis Star in August show an inappropriately close relationship between Indiana regulators and Duke Energy. The emails showed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission chairman recommended that Duke Energy hire his personal choice to lead its operations in the state.

The relationship spurred a criminal investigation. Former regulatory commission chairman David Lott Hardy was indicted in December on charges he allowed the panel's top lawyer to keep overseeing cases involving Duke Energy even though he knew the attorney was trying to land a job at Duke.

Hardy has filed a motion in Marion Superior Court to dismiss an amended indictment against him, claiming he did nothing criminal.

Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann says the agreement meets two objectives, reducing what Indiana customers will pay in rates and resolving uncertainty for Duke Energy shareholders.

"We're now in the home stretch of completing a facility that will modernize our electric system and provide Indiana with cleaner power to meet increasingly strict federal environmental regulations," he said.

The massive coal-gasification plant near the southwestern Indiana town of Edwardsport will convert coal into a synthetic gas processed to remove pollutants such as mercury and sulfur. The gas is then burned in a traditional turbine power plant to produce electricity.

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  • Bad Deal For Us
    Indiana Utility Regulators Reach Deal With Duke Energy That Is Not Good Enough

    http://www.advanceindiana.com/
  • BANANA REPUBLIC
    Why should ratepayers pay for a publicly traded companys' gross mismanagement, misconduct, misrepresentation and malfeasance!

    If the IURC approves any overruns they have then turned Indiana into a Banana Republic. These clowns went over by $1,000,000,000!!!

    Legalized Extortion!!!!!

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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

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