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IURC caps ratepayers' share of Edwardsport plant at $2.6B

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State utility regulators on Thursday approved a settlement capping at $2.59 billion what Duke Energy ratepayers would shoulder for construction of the company’s Edwardsport coal gasification plant, which has suffered massive cost overruns.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission modified the settlement slightly—requiring Duke to also credit customers $28 million for cost control incentives the utility received that the commission “found to be unwarranted.” 

However, the commission noted that while the settlement limits project costs, it allows the utility to recover financing charges accrued during construction.

The plant initially was proposed to cost $1.98 billion. But overruns pushed the tab beyond $3.5 billion, with Duke shareholders forced to eat about $900 million of the added cost.

Citizens Action Coalition, which had opposed the settlement, said Duke ratepayers will have to pay at least $655 million in financing charges over and above the settlement cap. It wants the commission to revisit its prior approval of the plant.

The settlement—reached earlier this year between Duke, its big industrial customers and the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor—was opposed by CAC, Sierra Club, Save the Valley and Valley Watch.

CAC accuses Duke and its contractors of mismanaging the project and of unduly influencing the IURC. 

Former IURC Chairman David Lott Hardy was fired by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2010 after e-mails showed Hardy was chummy with Duke executives and that he allowed a former administrative law judge to participate in the Edwardsport case while the judge sought a job with the utility.

 “We have a lot to mull over,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of CAC.  “This is pretty much a rubber stamp,” he said of the commission’s ruling Thursday.

The groups likely will appeal the decision.

“Perhaps most important of all is our firm position that customers should not have to pay for any cost overruns which are attributable to imprudence or mismanagement of the project, which by Duke, GE, Bechtel or their many subcontractors,” said Olson.

The downstate generating plant was to have gone online this fall, although Duke now says that won’t occur until mid-2013 as it works through technical issues.  The complex plant will not burn coal to generate power but rather convert coal to a cleaner-burning gas.

In a statement Thursday, Duke spokeswoman Angeline Protogere said: "The plant will help us meet increasingly strict federal environmental regulations while still using an abundant local resource, Indiana coal. Edwardsport will serve the electric energy needs of our Indiana customers for decades to come."
 

 

 

 


 

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  • Gotta love corporate america!
    what a great country we live in!!! for profit companies get customers to pay for all there capitalization costs!! and what benefits consumers in this deal? oh wait, it doesnt. like everything else in this pathetic country we constantly cater corporate america at the expense of consumers.

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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