Utilities

New steam plant could propel Speedway revivalRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
Chris O'Malley
A unit of Citizens Gas proposes building a natural-gas-fueled steam plant in Speedway to serve large employers in the town of 12,800.
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: The worst of this year's technology snafusRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Tim Altom
Another year gone, and yet another Christmas gift for you. Every year, I collect examples of utterly horrendous technological snafus and write about them. No matter how awful your own meltdowns may have been, they can't have been as bad as these, so enter the new year with a light heart. The first example of disaster is fresh in the news still, at least in reports from the British Broadcasting Corp. The English government has lost disks with personal information...
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eGix buyout sets up Bell battleRestricted Content

December 17, 2007
Scott Olson
The fiercely competitive local telecommunications landscape should get even more heated, following Cincinnati Bell Inc.'s $18 million acquisition of Carmel-based eGix Inc. eGix provides bundled voice and data services, as well as high-speed Internet access and messaging products, to about 17,000 commercial customers.
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Biz issues move to back seat: Property-tax reform leaves little time for other workRestricted Content

December 10, 2007
Scott Olson
Reforming the state's property tax system will consume so much of the legislative session that the Indiana General Assembly isn't expected to give much attention to other issues pertinent to the business community. Compounding matters is the fact that the session, which runs from mid-January to mid-March, is of the short variety, meaning legislators have less time to debate issues than they would during the long, odd-year meetings. "I think [property tax reform] is the most intense and voluminous issue...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Are unions really that important?Restricted Content

December 10, 2007
Morton Marcus
Uncle Uriah Marcus visited us on Thanksgiving. It took over a week to recover. He blames "the @#%$# unions" for most of our state's woes. Uncle Uriah asserts "them big unions scares businesses away from Indiannie." A sample of his views: High property taxes: It's the teachers' union's fault because teachers keep pushing up their earnings and reducing their responsibility. Congestion in cities: Bus workers' unions keep fares too high for anyone to ride the bus. The battle between the...
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Niche firms thrive despite anonymity: Some small businesses don't need storefronts to keep customers comingRestricted Content

November 26, 2007
Marc D.
Whimsical Whisk isn't your neighborhood bakery. Pastry chef Clare Welage never wanted it to be. She started the patisserie in 2004 with plans to differentiate herself from the competition by making desserts from scratch using all-natural ingredients, designing items specifically for the customer and-just as important-going without a storefront. "I've always felt that if you open up a storefront and you have a specialty product, something somewhere gets compromised," Welage said. "Ultimately, it's the quality of the product or it's...
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Union says utility owes $115MRestricted Content

November 19, 2007
Chris O'Malley
In a case with huge financial implications for Indianapolis Power & Light and Virginia parent AES Corp., a labor union and 16 IPL retirees have asked regulators to force the utility to pay up to $115 million to back-fund a retirement plan it spun off in 2001.
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Power plant opponents claim Duke, governor interfered: IURC head received letter, press release referring to Edwardsport projectRestricted Content

October 22, 2007
Chris O\'malley
Groups opposing Duke Energy's coal gasification plant proposed for Edwardsport allege the utility and Gov. Mitch Daniels tried to sway regulators with improper contact and political pressure to get the $2 billion plant approved. They "are clearly trying to back-door the public decision-making process," said Jerry Polk, an attorney representing a group led by Citizens Action Coalition. Polk this month filed a complaint with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, citing a Sept. 25 letter an executive from Duke's Charlotte, N.C.,...
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Ex-Duke exec, wife tackle senior housing: Horns have nationwide plans for The Stratford Cos.Restricted Content

October 22, 2007
Scott Olson
Richard and Wendy Horn have had their share of separate real estate successes. Now, they've combined their corporate talents as a husband-and-wife team to lead an upstart senior housing developer. Richard joined The Stratford Cos. in May 2006 as chairman and CEO, and has since moved its headquarters from St. Louis to Indianapolis' north side in Parkwood Crossing. He is known within commercial real estate circles as a former veteran of Duke Realty Corp., where he enjoyed a two-year stint...
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Commentary: Region is missing benefits of planningRestricted Content

October 8, 2007
Brian Williams
Good urban design can create value for communities, individuals, the economy and the environment. The potential benefits include better public health, greater social equity, enhanced land values, a more vibrant local economy, reduced vehicle emissions and a more sustainable use of non-renewable resources. Central Indiana lacks geographical barriers to growth. Land is abundant and reasonably priced. However, the region lacks a cross-jurisdictional plan to manage growth and maximize the benefits from it. Instead, fields grow corn one season and homes...
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Landlords bring pipe to fight with regulators: Prospect of state oversight brings flood of protestRestricted Content

October 1, 2007
Chris O\'malley
The state's apartment industry, backed by firms that landlords hire to bill their tenants for water and sewer service, says state officials are legally all wet if they try to regulate the industry as utilities. Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission jurisdiction "does not extend to the regulation of a landlord's water pipes any more than it may extend to a homeowner's garden hose," Clayton Miller, a Baker & Daniels attorney representing the Water Sub-Billing and Conservation Coalition, told the commission last...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Investing in liquid assets? Try giving water a good lookRestricted Content

September 24, 2007
Karen Mersereau
G e o - p o l i t i c a l events and the media keep our focus on the price of oil, its potential supply interruptions and the need to reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil. Very little is written or reported about another very strategic resource-water. A top United Nations official addressing the 17th Annual World Water Week in Stockholm last August stated that water is going to be the dominant world issue far into...
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IPALCO may face challenge over old retirement plan: Utility accused of continuing to collect plan money from ratepayers despite spinning it off years earlierRestricted Content

September 17, 2007
Chris O\'malley
Six years after its $2.2 billion sale to AES Corp.-a deal that generated at least three shareholder lawsuits-IPALCO Enterprises has signaled that more sparks might fly from the long-done deal. An attorney claiming to represent participants in a retirement insurance plan IPALCO spun off and stopped funding six years ago alleges the utility continues to recover from its 468,000 ratepayers millions of dollars a year toward the plan. The letter asserts that Indianapolis Power & Light "is recovering in rates...
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AT&T's stealth over U-verse drawes fireRestricted Content

September 17, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Some in the telecom industry think AT&T had the Indiana General Assembly twirled around its finger like a coil of phone cord last year. It lobbied legislators to rewrite the state's telecommunications laws so it could more easily deploy its "U-verse" video product.
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Township wrestles with incorporation: As Greenwood, Bargersville annex commercial corridors, rest of township declinesRestricted Content

September 17, 2007
Anthony Schoettle
White River Township in northwest Johnson County is dotted with an increasing number of high-priced homes and anchored by one of the area's strongest school districts. But the area, known as Center Grove, also is marked by crumbling roads, poor drainage and an anemic parks system. To preserve its strengths and shore up its growing weaknesses, some in the area think White River Township needs to incorporate into its own city. The township of more than 40,000 residents faces the...
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BRIAN WILLIAMS: Indiana needs to get energy-wiseRestricted Content

September 10, 2007
As the 14th-mostpopulous state in the union, Indiana generates a gross state product that is 16th-largest of the 50 states. Unfortunately, despite significant investments in equipment and processes by manufacturers and public-policy efforts to encourage the attraction and growth of knowledgeand technology-focused industries, our economy remains energy-inefficient. In 2003, Indiana was the country's sixthlargest consumer of energy per capita, according to the Indiana Energy Report. Ninety-seven percent of Indiana's electricity is generated by coal. Indiana is the fifthlargest emitter of...
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Steam plant ups reliance on coalRestricted Content

September 3, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Citizens Gas & Coke Utility shuttered its coke manufacturing plant earlier this summer, much to the relief of neighbors and health officials who warned that its benzene emissions were a cancer threat. But regulatory filings show closing the plant at Keystone Avenue and Prospect Street could result in more pollution downtown.
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Choosing renovation or new construction a tough decisionRestricted Content

September 3, 2007
Fred J.
Sooner or later, in the life of almost every building owner, there comes a time when a structure has outlived its usefulness in its current condition. A choice between two options must be made. Do we renovate or do we demolish and build something totally new? The answer is by no means easy or automatic. Confronted with these options, an owner must grapple with a host of issues. The following sample is not exhaustive but may prove helpful as a...
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Heating-assistance program on the bubble: Agency urges improvements, questions accountingRestricted Content

August 20, 2007
Chris O\'malley
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor has filed a lukewarm response to plans from a pair of local utilities to continue a program intended to reduce gas disconnections in the upcoming heating season. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is weighing whether to continue the 20-month-old "universal service" programs offered by locally based Citizens Gas & Coke Utility and Evansville-based Vectren Corp. The programs are funded by the utilities and ratepayers. They amount to the secondlargest source of funds in...
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Utilities seek new sources of renewable electric powerRestricted Content

August 13, 2007
Chris O'Malley
The glacial-but-steady move to renewable-energy sources by Indiana's coal-dominated electric utilities is picking up speed and could spur demand for locally manufactured power-plant components.
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EYE ON THE PIE: Taxes pay for what Hoosiers wantRestricted Content

July 23, 2007
Morton Marcus
Good people, me included, have been making dumb statements about the property tax mess in Indiana. The problem is that we don't know enough to talk or write intelligently on the topic. The result is that we can be led by our noses into an even worse mess. "Abolish the property tax!" some demand. Then what? Abolition of the property tax means raising some other taxes or fees, unless government spending on services decreases. The state has been urging counties...
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City's water system wasted a billion gallons last yearRestricted Content

July 16, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Records show 17 percent of the 51 billion gallons Indianapolis Water treats and pumps from its plants never so much as moves a digit on customers' water meters.
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Landlord handling of water, sewer bills under scrutiny: Utility commission examining charges to see whether owners operate as utilitiesRestricted Content

July 16, 2007
Chris O\'malley
State utility regulators are examining whether operators of apartments and trailer parks are hosing tenants with excessive bills for water and sewer service. The inquiry by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission takes aim at decades-old billing practices that include dividing up a complex's total water and sewer bills among all tenants. The commission said it's received a handful of complaints over the years alleging rental property owners, or their billing agents, are assessing tenants higher rates than the commission permits...
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Industry takes deep breath over ozone: Tougher EPA standards could force costly emission controls, choke economic growthRestricted Content

July 16, 2007
Chris O\'malley
Just when the nine-county metro area appeared back in the good graces of the federal government where ozone levels are concerned, the feds want to tighten the standard once more. Manufacturers and other businesses that pump pollutants into the air that combine with sunlight to produce ozone are "apprehensive" about the proposed new rules, said Patrick Bennett, vice president of environmental, energy and infrastructure at the Indiana Manufacturers Association. Businesses in non-attainment counties face possible restrictions on expansion of facilities...
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Union targets IPL over efficiency, customer programs: Is workers' group taking on utility advocacy role?Restricted Content

July 2, 2007
Chris O\'malley
A union that's aggressively sought to organize the city's janitors unsuccessfully tried to intervene in an Indianapolis Power & Light case before state utility regulators. IPL's lawyers mopped the floor with the tenacious union-this time, anyway. The Service Employees International Union Local 3 wants IPL to expand its energy-efficiency and low-income customer assistance program, arguing that IPL and other utilities need to do more to help lower-income workers afford service. Attorneys who argue before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission said...
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  1. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  2. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  3. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  4. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.

  5. We're conflating two very different topics. Voter fraud is a myth and excessive gun violence is all too real. I just hope rational gunowners decide to stop being shouted down by the, well, let's call them "less rational" ones.

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