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Court overturns regulators’ ruling on payments for Rockport (IN) coal-gas plant October 30, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Uncategorized, Vectren.
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UPDATE:  Link to Indiana Court of Appeals decision issued this morning– http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/10301201par.pdf

 

Original article: http://www.indystar.com/article/20121030/BUSINESS/121030048/Court-overturns-regulators-ruling-payments-Rockport-coal-gas-plant?odyssey=mod|breaking|text|IndyStar.com

2:51 PM, Oct 30, 2012   |

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This coal gasification plant is being built in Edwardsport, while ground has yet to be broken on a similar plant in Rockport.

This coal gasification plant is being built in Edwardsport, while ground has yet to be broken on a similar plant in Rockport.  /  Courtesy Duke Energy

Written by Tony Cook

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An Indiana appeals court today reversed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s approval of a controversial deal under which Indiana natural gas customers would be required to pay for energy from a planned coal-gas plant in Rockport.

In a 2-1 decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the Indiana Finance Authority’s contract with the plant’s developer, Indiana Gasification, went beyond what state lawmakers had authorized.

Specifically, the court ruled that the contract’s inclusion of industrial transportation customers in the definition of “retail end use customer” violated the authorizing legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2009.

The case stems from a challenge by opponents of the project, including Vectren Energy, several industrial companies, two smaller natural gas utilities, and three citizen’s groups. Those opponents argued that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission erred in approving the contract, under which the state must buy gas from the plant and sell it on the open market for a profit. If it can’t, natural gas ratepayers must cover the loss on their monthly bills.

Officials with the Indiana Finance Authority, Indiana Gasification and Vectren were not immediately available for comment.

Call Star reporter Tony Cook at (317) 444-6081 and follow him at twitter.com/indystartony.

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