A [Sept. 27] IBJ article reported on a settlement Duke Energy and several customer groups have reached on costs associated with construction of the company’s clean-coal technology power plant in Edwardsport.
The facility will be the first major plant built in Indiana in more than two decades and is key to modernizing the state’s aging electric system. The Edwardsport project will be the largest in the world to use advanced technology to gasify coal, strip out many of the pollutants, and then burn that cleaner gas to produce power.
The size and complexity of the Edwardsport plant have caused costs to rise significantly over original estimates. The settlement agreement we reached with the Indiana Industrial Group, Nucor Steel, and the state’s consumer advocate, the Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor, reflects a balanced approach that lowers the customer-bill impacts of the escalating costs and requires Duke shareholders to absorb a financial hit. The Citizens Action Coalition has adopted an aggressively anti-coal approach so its opposition on the proposed settlement is not a surprise.
Your article also referred to the CAC’s objection to the company’s hiring of Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission attorney Scott Storms. Storms received an opinion from the Indiana Ethics Commission that stated it was within the state’s rules for him to accept employment with Duke Energy, provided he not work on any matters for Duke that he had worked on [at] IURC.
Duke Energy appreciates the fact that appearances matter and trust is critical. For that reason, we will exclude Storms from working on or appearing before the commission on any Duke Energy case that was pending while he was employed at the IURC, whether Storms was assigned to the case or not.
Also, for a period of one year, Duke Energy will impose a “no contact” policy. During the next 12 months, Storms will not appear before or contact his former employer, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, or their staff on any matter involving Duke Energy Indiana.
We value the trust our customers have in us, and we’re committed to doing all that we can to maintain that trust.
Jim Turner, President
Duke Energy Franchised Electric and Gas