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Vectren's plan to close field offices fuels complaint

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Three union offices in Indianapolis and 14 individuals want regulators to force gas utility Vectren North to reopen 16 of the 29 field offices the utility closed recently in central and southern Indiana, saying the move endangers public safety.

The petition was filed late last month with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1393 and by United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Manufacturing, Energy Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Locals 7441 and 12213.

The locals represent nearly 300 employees of Vectren North, which serves 570,000 gas customers surrounding Marion County.

Earlier this year Vectren closed nearly half of its field offices, instead giving field employees take-home vehicles. Some of the previous field offices are now used to store materials.

The complaint alleges that the more diverse dispersion of home locations can delay the time it takes crews to respond to incidents such as broken gas mains, endangering local fire and police officials and the public.

Among petitioners in the complaint are Frankfort Fire Chief Ron Bogard and Bedford Fire Chief Jon Wagner.

Vectren ceased staffing field offices in Attica, Bedford, Crawfordsville, Elwood, Frankfort, Greencastle, Greensburg, Huntington, Lebanon, Madison, Martinsville, New Castle, Rockville, Rushville, Seymour and Shelbyville.

Field offices that remain staffed include those in Anderson, Greenfield and Noblesville.

Evansville-based Vectren has not yet filed a response with the commission.

However, Vectren’s executive in charge of utility operations, William Doty, said  that evolving technology, including GPS equipment and vehicle computers, have “allowed our employees to be more mobile and better able to respond to emergencies, regardless of the time of day.”

After-hours emergencies are assigned to the employee who can most readily respond to an emergency, the utility said.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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