Utilities

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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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Infrastructure is costly to improve, but costlier to ignoreRestricted Content

May 21, 2007
Don Altemeyer
A recent article in Strategy+business magazine estimated that "the world's urban infrastructure needs a $41 trillion makeover" between now and 2030. The article explained that $41 trillion is roughly equivalent to the "2006 market capitalization of all shares held in all stock markets in the world." Some experts think that "new technology" will be the answer, and it may be when nanotechnology takes over the world. For now, however, the trend usually reinforces the trend, and we do the same...
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Commentary: A plea for bio-focused policies:Restricted Content

May 14, 2007
Brian Williams
Commentary A plea for bio-focused policies On April 2, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and can be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. While the ruling acknowledges the obvious, it offers a compelling rationale for Indiana elected officials to create an economic development strategy that leverages Hoosier intellectual capital and one of the state's greatest assets, our farmland. With the scope of the twin challenges...
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Winning bidder plans mixed-use project: Plan for state-owned parcel would add new neighbors for Bourbon Street Distillery, Musicians' Repair & SalesRestricted Content

April 30, 2007
Cory Schouten
The winning bidder for a prime piece of state-owned land on the west side of downtown hopes to break ground later this year on a residential and retail complex. The project would replace a shabby parking lot on a triangle-shaped block that is now anchored by The Bourbon Street Distillery and Musicians' Repair & Sales. The U-shaped, 0.75-acre property at 340 N. Capitol Ave. touches Indiana Avenue, Capitol Avenue and Vermont Street. The development likely would include condos above a...
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Software firm finally making name for itself: Fusion quietly becomes giant in local tech industryRestricted Content

March 5, 2007
Scott Olson
Doug Brown might not know how to name a company, but he sure knows how to grow one. CEO Brown, 46, co-founded Fusion Alliance Inc. in 1994 along with Tim Shaw, who is no longer active in the firm. The company has since blossomed into the Indianapolis-area's's largest software developer, with 196 staff and contract software engineers and programmers. Much of the growth coincides with the decision in 2000 to rechristen the northwest-side company from its original and less glamorous...
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Snowstorm meant long hours, extra bucks for some: Plowing works as a side gig, but no one's getting richRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
When the snow started flying during central Indiana's impressive winter storm this month, some residents bought bread and eggs and hunkered down to wait out the white stuff. Others tuned up their trucks and revved their snow blowers in hopes of seeing a lot of green. Many area city and town officials had private contractors on their speed dial-reinforcements who would help clear the foot of snow that fell in the Indianapolis area Feb. 13-14. The workers ranged from a...
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Bill would let utilities pass on more costs without rate hearingsRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Utility ratepayer groups say House Bill 1496, which is stuck in committee, is typical of what they see as a disturbing trend: allowing utilities to pass the cost of mandates directly to consumers. HB 1496 would require Indiana's coal-reliant electric utilities to generate at least 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources like wind and landfill gas.
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NOTIONS: Can you look at the world through others' eyes?Restricted Content

February 5, 2007
Bruce Hetrick
For the past few months, I've served on a search committee for a large not-forprofit organization. We're hoping to select and hire a senior public relations executive. During interviews for this position, many finalists have said the same thing: The organization needs to do a better job of "getting its message out." This doesn't surprise me. As head of a marketing communications consultancy, my phone rings frequently with prospective clients wanting help "getting our message out" because "we're the best-kept...
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Generator-maker finding new ways to get energyRestricted Content

January 29, 2007
Chris O'Malley
I Power Energy Systems, which makes natural-gas-powered electric generators that are the primary power source of corporate and college campuses, is a novelty in Indiana. After all, coal is still a cheaper source of electricity than is natural gas. But I Power is developing applications for electric generators that burn biogas from sources ranging from garbage to ground-up corn.
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EYE ON THE PIE: Time for progressive Indiana income tax?Restricted Content

December 11, 2006
Morton Marcus
There is growing agreement that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor are improving their lives. If you believe the trickle-down theorists, the poor will get the runoff as wealth is showered upon the few. If you look about, however, you will question this charming opinion held by the comfortable. At the same time, policies at the national and state levels continue to emphasize cutting the most important means we have of correcting this growing imbalance in America....
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IPL plan secrecy brings rebuke from watchdog groupRestricted Content

December 4, 2006
Chris O'Malley
The state's public access counselor says Indiana's utility regulators failed to make a legal case for keeping information about Indianapolis Power & Light's controversial "Elect Plan" out of public view.
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Plant to be a real gas for price stability?: Utilities betting gasification will ease volatilityRestricted Content

December 4, 2006
Chris O\'malley
Two gas utilities serving central Indiana say they want to buy synthetic gas from a proposed coal gasification plant downstate to provide a hedge against price volatility. Citizens Gas & Coke Utility, which serves 266,000 Marion County customers, plans to buy up to 3 billion cubic feet of gas a year from Indiana Gasification LLC. The amount is equivalent to about 10 percent of Citizens' annual demand for natural gas. Meanwhile, Evansville-based Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana, which has 550,000...
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IPL seeks to expand green plansRestricted Content

September 4, 2006
Chris O'Malley
Electric customers would gain new payment options and more access to "green power," and Indianapolis Power & Light would have more opportunities to profit, under a plan the utility filed Aug. 23 with state regulators.
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BRIAN WILLIAMS Commentary: The heat will hurt more next winterRestricted Content

August 14, 2006
Geopolitical instability and increasing worldwide demand for fossil fuels have caused high energy prices. Indiana tax policies in support of the creation of ethanol and biodiesel production facilities are part of an effort to help wean our transportation infrastructure from fossil fuels. While ethanol may be a poor alternative to fossil fuels, Hoosier entrepreneurs' and policymakers' efforts in this area reflect a broad awareness that we need a sensible, comprehensive energy policy. A corollary to $3-per-gallon gas is increasing home-heating...
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Butler juniors to stay on campus next year: University wants to boost campus, fill apartmentsRestricted Content

August 7, 2006
Jennifer Whitson
Butler University underclassmen got what some saw as very bad news last week: Starting in the fall of 2007, juniors-like freshmen and sophomores-will be required to live on campus. The university claims the new rule will make for a stronger on-campus community, but the change coincides with Butler's struggle to fill a new 500-bed apartment facility, where rents are higher than offcampus rental houses. Butler President Bobby Fong said a change has been underway for years to try to align...
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New fiscal year, no cuts for IU School of Medicine: But concern remains about funds for future growthRestricted Content

July 24, 2006
Tom Murphy
No layoffs. No seven-figure budget cut to sweat through. IU School of Medicine Dean Dr. Craig Brater had many reasons to raise a toast this month, when a new fiscal year began and the school left behind an old one marked by the worst budget cuts in decades. Indeed, Brater said he is breathing a little easier as the school starts fiscal 2006-2007 with a budget of more than $815 million. An increase in clinical revenue and grant money helped...
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Hilbert estate drawing some offers: Letterman, Babyface, Judd not interestedRestricted Content

June 19, 2006
Tom Murphy
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning passed on a chance to buy the Carmel estate built for Conseco Inc. founder Stephen Hilbert that's on the market for a cool $20 million. Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal also rejected the opportunity a couple of times, real estate broker Dick Richwine said. Nearly a year after it went up for sale, the Carmel property labeled the most expensive home in Indiana is still searching for the right buyer. But a recent flurry of interest and...
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