Utilities

DANIELS' DEAL CLOSERS: IEDC generating jobs, but economy shares part of creditRestricted Content

June 5, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
It would have been big. Just last month, a team of officials from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and The Indy Partnership, its local equivalent, were furiously negotiating with South Carolinabased fire-engine maker American LaFrance. Intrigued by a mix of economic incentives and Indiana's central location, American LaFrance considered moving its operations to Marion County. In formal negotiations, the company dangled promises of 653 jobs and a capital investment of $18.5 million. State records don't reveal what incentives Indiana offered...
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Suit puts One Call on hold: Firm placed in receivership as lender seeks $21 millionRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Chris O\'malley
One Call Communications has been placed in receivership, a day after a lender for its 2002 management buyout filed a lawsuit alleging the Carmel long-distance and operator-services company owes it more than $21 million. The May 11 lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis by Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank appears to be the knockout blow for a telecommunications firm accused by several states of violating consumer protection laws in billing and collection practices. Also looming is a proposed $1.1 million fine...
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States demand One Call answers: Carmel telephone firm 'out of control'Restricted Content

March 27, 2006
Chris O\'malley
A Carmel long-distance and operator service company has a lot to answer for these days. After crossing wires with Indiana regulators and with the Federal Communications Commission last year, One Call Communications now is being accused by Iowa and Missouri regulators of putting bogus charges on phone bills and then harassing people to pay. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon this month filed a lawsuit alleging the privately held company violated state and federal consumer protection laws. Nixon said the company...
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VIEWPOINT: State's STIF-necked response shortsightedRestricted Content

February 20, 2006
Ernie Reno
Chances are, most of you have never heard of the acronym "STIF." The four letters stand for sales tax increment financing. Indiana has created so-called STIF districts around the state to stimulate economic development, or so we thought. STIF districts work simply: They allow a portion of sales taxes generated at new retail projects to be redirected to pay the cost of public improvements related to the projects, things like curbs and sidewalks, streets, sewers, other utilities, drainage and landscaping....
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Bills clash over video regulation: Phone giants, cable firms fight about franchising rulesRestricted Content

February 6, 2006
Chris O\'malley
In fact, some say the franchising clash has overshadowed the real implications of deregulation: Cable operators will get their first real competition since satellite TV mushroomed in the mid-1990s. Municipalities, which grant franchise agreements to cable TV companies and collect millions in fees in return, hyperventilated when Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, introduced Senate Bill 245 last month. It would give the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission the job of doling out statewide video franchises. Cities would lose that authority, but would...
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State's plans for Larue Carter remain uncertain: New hosptal ideas are still under considerationRestricted Content

January 9, 2006
Tom Murphy
A year after the administration of then-Gov. Joe Kernan proposed building a new Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital, the future of Indianapolis' lone state-owned psychiatric hospital remains murky. The Indiana State Office Building Commission bought an 18-acre site near the IUPUI campus in December 2004, during the waning days of the Kernan administration. State officials talked then about spending as much as $55 million to build a Larue Carter that would replace the existing hospital, which is part of an...
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Water treaty on tap: Mediated agreement calls for Carmel to pay Indy $36.2MRestricted Content

December 5, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Carmel and its big-city neighbor to the south have a truce in hand to end a 3-1/2-year war over what Carmel will pay to buy Indianapolis-owned water distribution lines serving 6,000 customers in the Hamilton County community. The proposed purchase price: $36.2 million, according to documents recently filed with state regulators. Carmel officials say the deal eventually should improve water pressure and lower fire insurance rates, and make it easier to plan for growth. It also would give affected residents...
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Plan to let affiliate use gas field sparks opposition: Citizens Gas industrial customers say recent hurricanes show potential for supply disruption, price spikesRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Big manufacturers have asked regulators to reconsider allowing an unregulated affiliate of Citizens Gas & Coke Utility to use the Indianapolis utility's Greene County gas storage facility. General Motors Corp., Reilly Industries and Rolls-Royce Corp. warn that Citizens Gas & Coke Utility's supply of gas it buys during warm-weather months could be at risk if gas marketing firm Pro-Liance Energy LLC is allowed to control the underground gas storage field. ProLiance sells natural gas to utilities and large-volume gas customers...
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Marketing firm nabs big East Coast client: MillerWhite uses unusual approach to beat Massachusetts incumbentRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
MillerWhite LLC, a 21-person advertising and marketing agency with offices in Indianapolis and Terre Haute, is the new agency of record for Boston-based Ameresco Inc. Ameresco, which helps clients in almost 40 U.S. and Canadian markets reduce energy costs by modernizing infrastructure and managing power supply, is listed on Inc. magazine's fastestgrowing private firms list. The company, which generates annual revenue of almost $250 million, is poised for explosive growth, industry observers believe. Though financial terms of the deal were...
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Incentive search shot down: University Loft eyes Tennessee after Hancock County spurns request to create a TIF districtRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
Hancock County Commissioners' unwillingness to consider creating a Tax Increment Financing district has sent a growing Indianapolis-based manufacturer looking for a new expansion site, possibly out of state. University Loft Co. CEO James N. Jannetides said he was continually rebuffed over a months-long process to get the tax incentives his company needed to bring 200-plus jobs to the county directly east of Marion County. Now Jannetides said he might look to consolidate manufacturing in Tennessee where he opened a plant...
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Movements in midtown may mean more housing, retail: Handful of developers take on North Meridian projectsRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Tammy Lieber
"It's just a matter of time." At this point, the statement may reflect more hope than reality. The city's main corridor is a concrete jungle through much of midtown, filled with parking lots, for-sale signs and buildings exhibiting nearly nonexistent design standards. However, a small-butgrowing number of developers is showing interest in revitalizing the main corridor through midtown. One of the newest plans would create a mixed-use development at 21st and Meridian streets called Meridian at 21. Local businessman Jeffrey...
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Omnicity making inroads among the dirt roads: Rural areas served by wireless broadband provider have grown nearly six-foldRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Chris O\'malley
An Indianapolis company that provides wireless broadband service from atop grain elevators, water towers or darned near anywhere the warbler roosts is expanding at a rapid clip and plans to launch Internet-based phone service in early 2006. Omnicity Inc. also plans another private offering to raise cash for its ambitious build-out in rural areas that are underserved by high-speed Internet providers. Improving broadband access has economic development implications in Indianapolis' remote bedroom communities and throughout sparsely populated areas. Now, even...
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Critics want IPL answers: Utility cut $10M settlement after agency suggested accounting was misleadingRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Groups representing Indianapolis Power & Light Co. customers want to know if the utility has deliberately underreported income to regulators and overcharged customers. Their concerns were sparked by a cryptic settlement IPL reached with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor on Oct. 28 that took IPL customer groups by surprise. IPL agreed to provide each residential customer with a $25 credit early next year, "a time when the costs for heating their homes will be at their highest," IPL...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Putting construction, engineering into laymen's termsRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Fred J.
Sometimes those of us in the construction industry-like many other professions-forget we have our own technical vocabulary that many laymen simply don't understand. Like some of my colleagues, I have occasionally started tossing around the lingo of our industry before business and civic leaders from other fields and have seen the confused look that comes over their faces. I have to stop and define my terms. With that situation in mind, I thought it might be helpful to put together...
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Will cook, need kitchen: Bakers, caterers struggle to find space to bake-legallyRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Tammy Lieber
Both women know they have sweettoothed fans who want to buy their goodies, but because of new state regulations, they are finding it difficult to deliver their products to a hungry market. At the beginning of this year, a law took effect requiring that most food for sale to the public be prepared in commercial kitchens with certified food handlers. The regulation has effectively kicked Castillo, Johnson and dozens of other small caterers and bakers out of their production facilities-in...
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Court battles widen for ProLiance Energy: Gas marketer sues its insurer for millions in legal feesRestricted Content

October 24, 2005
Chris O\'malley
ProLiance Energy LLC, already facing a $38.9 million judgment under a federal racketeering law, now is battling its insurer in court to collect more than $2 million in legal fees for its defense. New Jersey-based Executive Risk Specialty Insurance Co. not only refuses to pay the claim but also wants ProLiance to return $1.3 million in defense expenses paid before the February verdict on behalf of Huntsville Utilities in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The jury...
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Were IPL earnings too big?: Secret biz plan: Execs feared state would order refundsRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Chris O\'malley
In May 2003, the top brass at IPALCO Enterprises Inc. was running the numbers and saw potential regulatory trouble down the line. The latest projections showed the Indianapolis Power & Light Co. parent would earn a return on equity more than double the industry average for years to come, according to a confidential business plan drafted that spring. Not only might state regulators question whether IPALCO was earning too much money from customers, they also might apply existing case law...
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Retooling telecom: As rivals proliferate, SBC taps executive to overhaul offeringsRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Few industries have been as overrun by competitors as the Baby Bells-SBC Communications and other phone companies created through the breakup of Ma Bell AT&T in 1984. The San Antonio-based owner of what used to be Indiana Bell now competes along with local telephone exchange carriers that have carved out an estimated 20 percent of residential service in the state. Lately, cable TV companies such as Comcast have offered phone and broadband over the same, old coax cable that carries...
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New Citizens chief faces tough crowd: High gas prices, cranky industrial customers await LykinsRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Chris O\'malley
For seven days each July, Carey Lykins hikes a leg over his Trek touring bike in hopes of conquering Iowa. The [Des Moines] Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa is a grueling 471 miles between the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers. "It can be brutally hot, but it's a real adventure," said the 53-year-old Lykins. The same could be said for the tour Lykins began Oct. 1 as president and CEO of Citizens Gas & Coke Utility. The 32-year...
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Utility fund-raising effort takes heat for opt-out strategy: Critics say customers should be asked if they want to contribute to Operation Round Up-or any charityRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Andrea Muirragui
The concept is a noble one: By rounding their bills up to the nearest dollar, utility customers can turn pennies into a philanthropic windfall for a worthy cause. Indeed, Operation Round Up programs at nearly 250 electric cooperatives nationwide-including 22 in Indiana-have collected more than $50 million for charity since the fund-raising effort began in 1989. But some observers question the method most participating utilities use to get their members involved. Rather than being asked to give, residential and commercial...
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TAWN PARENT Commentary: Big hankering for the Big EasyRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Once you've lived in New Orleans, you never really leave. A part of you stays on. You don't feel quite whole again except when you return. Then it's like regaining an appendage you had learned to live without, but suddenly realize how much you have missed. Transfixed by events there over the past month, I have been missing that part of me I left behind in 1996 when I drove a U-Haul north after three years as a reporter and...
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Proposed natural gas pipeline bogged down at IURC: Project would give customers access to lower-priced gas, blunting impact of Katrina and hike in delivery feeRestricted Content

September 12, 2005
Chris O\'malley
A pipeline that would give residential and industrial customers access to cheaper wholesale natural gas from the West and Canada won't be built this winter, when it could have blunted prices whipped skyward by Hurricane Katrina. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is still reviewing Citizens Gas & Coke Utility's request to construct a nearly 20-mile pipeline that would connect its Greene County gas storage facility with the Midwest Gas Transmission System line in Sullivan County. That line ties into a...
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Incubator under new ownership: Aim is to return center to its entrepreneurial mission

August 29, 2005
Scott Olson
Any small-business incubator can offer tenants Internet service, fax machines and conference rooms. But what about the convenience of on-site oil changes or the stress relief of a pinball machine? For Scott Meyers, new owner of the revamped Indianapolis Enterprise Center, the extra incentives are just a small part of his overall plan to make the neareast-side facility more attractive to fledgling entrepreneurs. Meyers, 36, bought the former A&P grocery warehouse in May. He declined to disclose the purchase price...
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Pension fund opens coffers: $506M could be boon for venture capitalistsRestricted Content

August 22, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
The Public Employees' Retirement Fund, Indiana's largest pension system, is preparing to unleash half a billion dollars into venture capital, real estate and other privateequity investments. And the fund's managers aim to put the bulk of it to work inside state lines. Hoosier venture capitalists are salivating at the prospect. T h a t 's t h e equivalent of nearly seven BioCrossroads Indiana Future Funds. "If there are excellent opportunities to invest in Indiana, we ought to be looking...
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Law could generate earnings for Cummins: States face deadline in completing standards for connecting generators to gridRestricted Content

August 22, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Cummins Inc. and other makers of electric generators stand to gain under a provision an Indiana lawmaker plugged into the federal energy bill signed this month. The amendment by 4th District Republican congressman Steve Buyer forces state utility commissions to adopt standards within two years that will pave the way for businesses that generate their own electricity to sell excess power to the electric grid. That's good news for firms that generate their own power and for Cummins, which makes...
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