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CAC’s Kerwin Olson: Dueling energy proposals bear monitoring at Indiana State House; How will they impact you? January 31, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in 2013 Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

In any attempt to bring you a variety of viewpoints on energy and utility issues that will impact renewable energy and distributed generation, please find below a pieve written by Kerwin Olson who is the Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition.

Just a friendly reminder, SB 560 will be heard this morning (1/31/2013) in the Senate Utilities Committee starting at 9 am. You can watch on-line. Please visit this previous post for details http://wp.me/pMRZi-12b.

As of last night there were three proposed amendments circulating which may or may not be offered to SB 560.

Laura Ann Arnold

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20130131/EDIT05/301319991/1021/EDIT

Published: January 31, 2013 3:00 a.m.

Dueling energy proposals bear monitoring

Kerwin Olson

The fate of monthly utility bills and the future of Indiana energy policy will be a hot topic of discussion in the Indiana General Assembly.

Once again, the proposed coal-to-gas plant to be built in Rockport by Indiana Gasification will be the subject of legislation. Two companion bills, SB 510 (authored by Sen. Doug Eckerty – R, Yorktown) and HB 1515 (authored by Rep. Suzanne Crouch – R, Evansville) promise to protect consumers from what are certain to be excessive charges for the substitute natural gas to be produced by the proposed facility. By making this the law of our state, captive Hoosier ratepayers will be protected from being gouged by an Enron-like scheme that promises hefty returns for a privately held, out-of-state hedge fund.

Conversely, SB 560 (authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman, R, Monticello) guarantees that captive gas and electricity ratepayers will face enormous bill increases; the legislation eliminates regulatory protections to which captive consumers are entitled. SB 560 will shift almost all of the costs and risk of operating a monopoly utility company to captive ratepayers and away from voluntary investors. Additionally, SB 560 would allow the monopoly utilities to raise rates virtually automatically and would further reduce regulatory oversight by placing unreasonable time restrictions on both the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor to review requests by the monopoly utilities to raise your rates. Should SB 560 become law, monopoly utility profits will become excessive as the utilities will have little incentive to control costs while the more expensive, risky and obsolete technologies will continue to be chosen over cheaper, cleaner and less risky alternatives.

Every branch of government is being asked to do more with less. The public is struggling with stagnant and diminishing wages, while monthly electric bills have increased nearly 50 percent over the last decade, and the cost of living continues to soar, especially for essentials such as food and health care. Meanwhile, the monopoly electric and gas utility companies in Indiana are working hard to undermine regulatory oversight and are attempting to deregulate their monopoly revenue and profits. They are asking your elected officials for a raise, and they want it to come from your checkbook. While everyone else is being forced to tighten their belts and the working class and vulnerable populations struggle to survive, the monopoly utilities parade around the halls of government with unfettered access working to increase their monopoly revenue and profits at the expense of the public.

It should be interesting to observe the now Republican-dominated General Assembly and a newly elected governor with no Statehouse experience navigate the two paradigms. Will they allow the monopoly utilities with their deep pockets to control the agenda and the future of Indiana energy policy, or will they stand up for consumers, keep the utilities in check and protect the public interest? We’ll learn the answer during what promises to be a long and contentious 2013 General Assembly session. Stay tuned.

Kerwin Olson is executive director of Citizens Action Coalition in Indianapolis. He wrote this for Indiana newspapers.

IndplsStar: Opponents emerge for IPL’s $500M pollution control plan; Urge IPL to invest in renewable energy January 25, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:
Let’s give a big “shout-out” to Indianapolis City-County At-large Council Member Zach Adamson for testifying at this IURC public field hearing last night in Cause No. 44242. Please note that Indiana State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) attended this hearing last night which was attended by 4 of the 5 members of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) including Chairman Jim Atterholt.
I also testified last night urging that IPL’s Rate REP or feed-in tariff which is scheduled to expire March 30, 2013 be extended and expanded. I suggested that there was a lost opportunity for worthwhile renewable energy projects in the IPL Rate REP Queue that are not likely to be able to participate in the program. Specifically, I mentioned 15 different proposed projects representing 1.5 MWs of solar PV projects that are a part of the Indy Solar Initiative. For details see Indy Solar Initiative10_02_Englewood CDC and East Washington Street Partnership. I also mentioned additional proposed projects not slated to be done under the IPL Rate REP unless it is extended and expanded including St. Luke’s Methodist Church, University High School and the Jewish Community Center (JCC). It is difficult to understand what additional projects have been proposed for the IPL Rate REP since the list does identify them except by the date their application was filed a code name with a letter representing the applicant and a number.
I plan to revise and edit my oral comments. Please let me know if you are interested in receiving a written copy.
More on this case as it unfolds. Watch this blog for updates!
Laura Ann Arnold

Sierra Club rally against Indianapolis Power & Lig...

Sierra Club rally against Indianapolis Power & Light rate increase: The Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition and City-County Councilman Zach Adamson rally against IPL’s request for a rate increase to pay for $500 million in upgrades to two of its coal-fired plants.

   Written by Tony Cook, Jan 24, 2013   |4Comments

Consumer and environmental advocates rallied before an Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission public hearing on Indianapolis Power and Light's plan to spend more than $500 million on environmental controls at two coal-fired power plants at the Indiana History Center in Indianapolis on Thursday, January 24, 2013. Speaking at center is Sierra Club's Megan Anderson, Indiana Beyond Coal Campaign conservation organizer.

Consumer and environmental advocates rallied before an Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission public hearing on Indianapolis Power and Light’s plan to spend more than $500 million on environmental controls at two coal-fired power plants at the Indiana History Center in Indianapolis on Thursday, January 24, 2013. Speaking at center is Sierra Club’s Megan Anderson, Indiana Beyond Coal Campaign conservation organizer.  /  Charlie Nye / The Star

Sierra Club rally against Indianapolis Power & Light rate increase

The Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition and City-County Councilman Zach Adamson rally against IPL’s request for a rate increase to pay for $500 million in upgrades to two of its coal-fired plants.

This is a must see video of remarks made prior to the IURC public field hearing.

View Video HERE http://www.indystar.com/videonetwork/2117556920001/Sierra-Club-rally-against-Indianapolis-Power-Light-rate-increase

———————————————————————–

Written by Tony Cook

Indianapolis Power & Light Co.’s plan to spend more than $500 million on environmental controls at two old coal-fired power plants is stirring opposition.

Consumer and environmental advocates — including an Indianapolis city-county councilman — argue that electric customers shouldn’t have to pay higher rates to extend the life of outdated and dirty coal plants.
“If we’re going to have a rate increase, it would be better to invest in a plant that isn’t going to poison our air and contaminate our soil with mercury,” said Democrat Zach Adamson, a councilman at large.
He and about 70 representatives from the Sierra Club and Citizens Action Coalition — wearing green “Nightmare on Harding Street” T-shirts — held a protest Thursday before an Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission  public hearing on the topic at the Indiana History Center.
IPL plans to spend $511 million on environmental upgrades to its Petersburg and Harding Street coal-fired plants. Individual generating units at those plants are 27 to 46 years old, according to IPL. Company officials say the upgrades would cut mercury emissions 80 percent and are necessary because of new mercury and air toxic standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To pay for the improvements, IPL wants to raise rates. Customers who use 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity would see their monthly bills rise $1.13 by 2014. The monthly increase would rise to $8.92 in 2017.
“Putting half a billion dollars into an outdated coal plant to keep it polluting the city for years to come is a waste of money,” said Megan Anderson, a conservation organizer with the Sierra Club.
Instead, opponents want IPL to invest in clean, renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power.
Brad Riley, an IPL spokesman, said those alternatives wouldn’t be cost-effective and would end up costing ratepayers much more.
He also said IPL, which provides electricity to 470,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Indianapolis area, ranks eighth in the country for its use of wind-generated energy and seventh in the central part of the country for its use of solar power.
“We’ve got a great diversity in our portfolio,” he said.
But critics say that’s not good enough. They point out that the Indianapolis metropolitan area ranks 14th in the nation for year-round particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association.
“This is just a Band-Aid that’s going to cost over $500 million,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition.

His group and other organizations representing consumer and environmental interests have until Monday to file testimony with the IURC.

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

CAC says–“IPL: Stop investing in the past; Start investing in the future! Tell the IURC to say NO to IPL rate increase!” January 21, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP, Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Do you agree that IPL should stop investing in the past and start investing in the future? Should IPL reconsider renewing and extending Rate REP or feed-in tariff which allows customers to invest in renewable energy and distributed generation?

Click this link below for information from Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) concerning the upcoming field hearing for the IPL Environmental Compliance case in Cause No. 44242.

For details on how to participate in the hearing see: https://indianadg.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/voice-your-view-on-ipl-environmental-compliance-case-12413/

IPL: Stop investing in the past; Start investing in the future! Tell the IURC to say NO to IPL rate increase!.

Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) is currently seeking permission from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to raise rates in order to install pollution control equipment on their fleet of aging coal-fired power plants.  IPL’s almost exclusive reliance on coal (approximately 99% of the electricity generated by IPL is from burning coal) continues to expose ratepayers and shareholders to enormous costs and risks and is contributing to significant public health and environmental problems.

It’s time for IPL to begin to diversify their generation portfolio and move into the 21st century by making meaningful investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Investing in renewables and efficiency will reduce ratepayer and shareholder risk, protect our health and the quality of our environment, and put money back into Hoosiers’ pockets by creating jobs and reducing monthly electric bills.

01-13-13 IPL Rate Hike Fact Sheet from Citizens Action Coalition (CAC)

Let us know if you plan to attend the hearing. See you there!!

Voice Your View on IPL Environmental Compliance Case 1/24/13 January 17, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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See next blog post for more information on this case pending before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) from the Citizens Action Coalition (CAC).

Written consumer comments also invited

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is encouraging Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) customers to comment on the utility’s pending environmental compliance construction case, through both written comments and the case’s upcoming public field hearing.

An Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) public field hearing will be held

DATE: Thursday, January 24, 2013

TIME: 6:00 pm EST

PLACE: Indiana History Center , 450 West Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

The hearing’s public comment portion will start at 6:00 p.m.

Sworn oral and written comments regarding the case will be accepted during the field hearing.

Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight and will become part of the case’s official evidentiary record.

Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after the hearing.)

An OUCC informational session on the regulatory process and public field hearing procedures will begin at 5:30 p.m.

IPL is asking the IURC to approve its proposed Environmental Compliance Construction Project, which would include the construction, installation and operation of new pollution control equipment at IPL’s Petersburg and Harding Street generating stations. The equipment would be installed on five generating units that make up 82 percent of IPL’s coalfired capacity. It would reduce mercury emissions along with emissions of non-mercury metal hazardous air pollutants and acid gas hazardous air pollutants.

In its testimony, the utility states that the project is necessary for compliance with federal regulations, specifically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.

IPL is also seeking IURC approval to recover the project’s costs through rates, with rate adjustments to be made every six months. The utility currently estimates the project’s construction costs – not including financing and demolition costs – at nearly $511 million (compared to an initial construction cost estimate of $606 million).

By 2014, IPL expects the project to add $1.13 to the monthly bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh). According to IPL’s testimony, this monthly amount would rise to $8.92 in 2017.

The OUCC – which represents consumer interests in cases before the IURC – is still evaluating this case and is scheduled to file testimony on January 28, 2013. Additional parties that have intervened in this case – including the Sierra Club, the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC), and the IPL Industrial Group – are also scheduled to file testimony on January 28.

More information on this case is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2732.htm.

Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:

Mail: Consumer Services Staff

Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South

Indianapolis, IN 46204

email: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov

Fax: (317) 232-5923

Written comments the OUCC receives by January 24 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to IURC Cause No. 44242.”

Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff tollfree t 1-888-441-2494.

# # #

IURC Cause No. 44242

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.

Visit us at www.IN.gov/OUCC, www.twitter.com/IndianaOUCC, or www.facebook.com/IndianaOUCC

IndyStar: Duke Energy Indiana customers owe $2.5 billion-plus for Edwardsport plant December 28, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Edwardsport IGCC Plant, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

The story about the IURC order on Duke Energy Indiana’s Edwardsport IGCC  plant was the front page banner story in this morning’s Indianapolis Star print edition. At the end of the article is a summary of the timeline of events. This matter is not over since it is anticipated that parties such as Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana et al., that were intervenors that did not sign the proposed settlement agreement are expected to appeal the IURC decision.

For additional perspectives on this matter please also see:

Remember, you can read the IURC order in its entirety HERE> Order_in_Cause_No_43114_IGCC_4_S1(1)
Laura Ann Arnold
Duke Energy coal gasification power plant, Edwardsport, Ind.

Duke Energy coal gasification power plant, Edwardsport, Ind.

8:31 PM, Dec 27, 2012 Written by John Russell

Follow Indianapolis Star reporter John Russell on Twitter at @johnrussell99 or call him at (317) 444-6283.

Finally, after years of legal fighting, it’s official: Duke Energy Corp.and its 790,000 Indiana customers will split the $3.5 billion cost of the Edwardsport power plant — one of the largest, most expensive and most disputed construction projects in Indiana history.

But it’s not an even split, and how much each side will have to pay is likely to produce some grumbling.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission ruled Thursday that Duke Energy must swallow about $900 million for the plant, which in 2010 became enveloped in an ethics cloud involving a revolving door between the regulatory commission’s staff and the utility’s ranks.

The commission ruled that Duke should have managed the project more prudently and that it failed to hold its contractors accountable in allowing costs to spiral from the original estimate of $1.985 billion.

“We do not find it reasonable for ratepayers to pay for the imprudent actions of Duke’s contractors,” the ruling said.

But the commission ruled that the 618-megawatt plant ias necessary to meet the future energy needs of Indiana. It said customers must pay the bulk of construction costs: $2.595 billion, plus millions of dollars in financing costs.

Duke said the ruling will result in customers’ bills climbing 14 percent to 16 percent. Of that, a 5 percent rise already has taken place. The remainder will occur in two steps: Customers will see a rate hike of 3 percent to 4 percent in January, and two other hikes totaling 6 percent to 7 percent by early 2014.

The company said construction of the huge plant, near Vincennes, is nearly complete. It expects to put the plant into commercial operation by the middle of next year. Already, it has produced its first electricity from gasified coal during start-up and testing. The plant uses a coal-gasification technology to turn coal into electricity.

The ruling “allows us to focus on bringing into service a plant that will help us meet increasingly strict federal environmental regulations while still using an abundant local resource, Indiana coal,” Duke Energy said in a statement.

The IURC said that if Duke recovers any additional funds through litigation, the surplus must be returned to customers. Duke has strongly hinted it would take its contractors to court for engineering and construction problems.

The commission also directed Duke to credit customers for certain incentive payments that were found to be unwarranted “given the delays that arose from the project cost overruns.”

And in a major victory for the utility, the commission found that Duke did not commit fraud, concealment or gross mismanagement with the project. Those charges were leveled by several customer and citizens groups and resulted in months of public hearings.

In large part, Thursday’s ruling reflects a new settlement that Duke reached with its largest customers and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor in April. The agreement and ruling apparently end more than two years of uncertainty and bitter fighting among those organizations over who should pay for a string of huge cost overruns.

The deal replaces an earlier agreement, reached in 2010, that had called for customers to pay about $2.9 billion of the plant’s costs. That settlement fell apart after The Indianapolis Star revealed secret meetings and conversations between state regulators and Duke executives stretching back several years.

David Stippler, the state’s consumer counselor, said Thursday the ruling means that more than $835 million in construction cost overruns will be borne by Duke, not its customers.

“At the same time, all Hoosiers will benefit from the reliability and stability this project will add to the grid,” Stippler said in a statement.

The agreement did not satisfy everyone. Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, which has long fought the plant as unnecessary, said customers could have to pay tens of millions of dollars in additional funds for ongoing financing of the plant, which could push their share of the cost to $2.65 billion.

“Customers should not have to pay for any cost overruns which are attributable to imprudence or mismanagement of the project,” said Kerwin Olson, the group’s executive director. His group said it would appeal the ruling to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

The plant came under severe criticism from the outset. Some critics said the technology was unproven and the additional generating capacity wasn’t needed.

Others weighed in after The Star exposed numerous emails and internal documents that showed utility executives had a chummy relationship with some state regulators.

Those revelations cost four high-ranking people their jobs, including David Lott Hardy, former chairman of the regulatory commission, who was fired by Gov. Mitch Daniels in late 2010. Others who lost their jobs were Duke’s No. 2 executive, the company’s former Indiana president and a Duke lawyer named Scott Storms.

The ethics scandal began, in large part, when Storms joined Duke in 2010 from the IURC, where he had been working as a chief administrative law judge. In that role, he oversaw the IURC’s regulation of the Edwardsport project while negotiating for a job with utility.

Duke said Thursday it looked forward to getting the controversy behind it and getting the plant in operation.

“Edwardsport will serve the electric energy needs of our Indiana customers for decades to come,” the company said.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

2010
>> Aug. 31: Duke Energy offered a job to Scott Storms, general counsel for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
>> Sept. 9: The Indiana Ethics Commission ruled that Storms could take the job without a one-year cooling-off period typically required for utility regulators.
>> Sept. 22: Consumer groups, including the Citizens Action Coalition, raised serious concerns about Storms’ hiring and the relationship between utilities and state regulators.
>> Sept. 24: Duke Energy said it would impose stricter limits on Storms’ work for Duke, saying it wouldn’t let him do any work for Duke with the IURC for a year or work internally for Duke on any regulatory cases involving Duke pending with the state.
>> Sept. 27: Storms began working for Duke.
>> Oct. 5: Gov. Mitch Daniels terminated and replaced David Lott Hardy as chairman of the IURC, citing the violation of an ethics policy. As a result, Duke announced it had put its Indiana president, Michael W. Reed, on paid leave as he played a role in hiring Storms away from the IURC. Reed formerly was an IURC executive director.
>> Dec. 9: Under pressure from large industrial customers, Duke agreed to renegotiate an agreement that had customers paying for much of the latest cost overruns at Duke’s coal-gasification plant in Edwardsport.

2011
>> May 12: An ethics panel ruled that Storms violated state law when he participated in cases involving Duke while talking to the utility about a job.
>> June 30: The state’s utility consumer agency withdrew support for a deal with Duke in which ratepayers would shoulder $530 million in extra construction costs for the Edwardsport plant.
>> July 14: The utility consumer agency and Duke’s industrial users called for regulators to force the utility to pay for $1 billion in cost overruns on the Edwardsport plant and not pass those costs on to consumers. The Citizens Action Coalition argued that consumers should pay nothing toward the cost of the plant.
>> Oct. 27: The IURC kicked off weeks of testimony about Duke’s handling of the Edwardsport project.
>> Dec. 9: A Marion County grand jury indicted Hardy on three counts of official misconduct.

2012
>> July 2: Duke Energy agrees to merge with Progress Energy. Hours after gaining regulators’ approval, Duke Energy’s board ousted Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson, who was supposed to take over the combined company, in favor of Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers. The deal created the nation’s largest electric company.
>> Nov. 29: Rogers agrees to retire at the end of 2013 as part of a settlement with North Carolina utilities regulators over the July 2 action.
>> Dec. 27: The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approves an agreement that would shift $900 million in cost overruns on the Edwardsport plant to Duke.

— Source: Star archives

IURC Decision Limits Cost Recovery on Duke Energy Edwardsport IGCC Plant on Indiana December 27, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Edwardsport IGCC Plant, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Dear Indiana DG Readers:

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) this afternoon (12/27/12) approved a modified Settlement Agreement in the Duke Energy Indiana Edwardsport case.

Please find below the official IURC News Release. Download the IURC News Release HERE > http://www.in.gov/iurc/files/IURC_Decision_Limits_Cost_Recovery_on_Duke_Energy_Edwardsport_Plant.pdf

Download a copy of the order HERE > http://www.in.gov/iurc/files/Order_in_Cause_No_43114_IGCC_4_S1.pdf 

The order is 134 pages but most of the order summarizes the case and the procedural history.

The Commission Discussion and Findings begins at p. 109.

A copy of the Settlement Agreement starts at p. 123 of the 134 page document., however, since this was not a settlement signed by all the parties to the proceeding this is likely not over. More details will be covered as they unfold. Watch this blog for further developments.

Enjoy!

Laura Ann Arnold

————————————-

IURC News Release
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
101 W. Washington St.
Suite 1500 E.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

For Immediate Release  
December 27, 2012
Contact Information:
Danielle McGrath
Office: (317) 232‐2297

IURC Decision Limits Cost Recovery on Duke Energy Edwardsport Plant

Commission approves modified settlement agreement and credits ratepayers an additional $28 million

INDIANAPOLIS – Today the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) modified and approved a settlement agreement reached in the Duke Energy Indiana case involving the revised cost estimate for the electric utility’s new integrated gasification combined cycle facility (IGCC) in Edwardsport, Ind.

The settlement agreement set a hard cost cap for the project at $2.595 billion (as of June 30, 2012), which prohibits Duke Energy from recovering project construction costs above this amount from retail electric customers, excluding costs related to force majeure situations defined in the agreement. It also requires the utility to absorb nearly $900 million in cost overruns given the plant is now projected to cost approximately $3.5 billion.

Although Duke Energy is limited in its recovery of project costs, the settlement agreement does allow the utility to recover financing charges accrued to fund the project’s construction. This arrangement is otherwise known as allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) and has been approved thus far in this case in accordance with state law.

Through a modification to the settlement agreement, the IURC also provided $28 million in additional value to ratepayers by directing Duke Energy to credit customers for cost control incentive payments found to be unwarranted, given the delays that arose from the project cost overruns. The IURC also modified the settlement agreement in such a way that if Duke Energy should recover through litigation claims more than the IGCC project costs absorbed by its shareholders, any surplus recovery is required to be returned to ratepayers.

The investment recovery sharing coupled with the other terms of the settlement agreement created value that was found to be in the public interest. The settlement agreement was reached by the utility, Nucor Steel Indiana, the Duke industrial group, and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor. Packaged with the settlement agreement is also a guarantee by Duke Energy that it will not file a rate case prior to March 2013, nor implement one before April 2014.

For your reference, the IURC’s decision under Cause No. 43114 IGCC 4 S1 can be found online at http://www.in.gov/iurc. To read the “Commission Discussion and Findings” section, please go to page 109. If you need to access other case‐related documents, visit our Electronic Document System at https://myweb.in.gov/IURC/eds/. Instructions on how to best use this database can be found at http://www.in.gov/iurc/2666.htm.
###

The Commission is a fact‐finding body that hears evidence in cases filed before it and makes decisions based on the evidence presented in those cases. An advocate of neither the public nor the utilities, the IURC is required by state statute to make decisions that balance the interests of all parties to ensure the utilities provide adequate and reliable service at reasonable prices. For more information, please visit: http://www.in.gov/iurc.

Pro/Con: Edwardsport Power Plant; Duke Energy (IN) Pres. Doug Easamann v. Columbus (IN) Attorney Michael Mullett December 10, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Edwardsport IGCC Plant, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Regulatory Flexibility Committee meets 9/6/12 to hear IURC Annual Report, Annual Report on renewable resources and InVCEP; Watch on-line September 6, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in 2012 Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized, Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program.
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This meeting will be broadcast over the Internet for those unable to attend. Please visit http://www.in.gov/legislative/2441.htm and select the video stream for the appropriate room, i.e. Senate Chamber, from the drop down list to watch the Webcast.

Here is the link to the Regulatory Flexibility Committee agenda: http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/notices/RFSCF96.pdfhttp://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/notices/RFSCF96.pdf

This committee meeting agenda and notice includes a list of state legislators who are a member of this important committee. Check to see if your own state legislators are a member of this committee.

MEETING TIME: 10:00 am

MEETING PLACE: Senate Chamber, State House, 200 W. Washington, Indianapolis, IN

MEETING AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Discussion of clean energy and the Indiana Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio program
  2. Discussion of renewable energy transmission
  3. Report by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by IURC Chairman Jim Atterholt
  4. Annual Report by the State Utility Forecasting Group including Annual Report on renewable resources
  5. Update from the Office of the utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC)

Watch the Indiana hearings on the Duke Energy Edwardsport IGCC plant hearings on-line; Consumer and environmental groups are opposing Settlement Agreement filed by OUCC et al. July 16, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Edwardsport IGCC Plant, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC).
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The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) is conducting public hearings in the Duke Energy case pertaining to the Settlement Agreement reached on their Edwardsport IGCC plant located in southern Indiana.

July 16th  to July 20th @ 9:30 a.m.      Duke Energy      Cause No. 43114 IGCC 4 S1

Click HERE  to watch the Duke Energy hearings this week at the IURC.

Click HERE for a copy of the Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor’s (OUCCs) news release supporting the Settlement Agreement dated April 30, 2012.

Click HERE to see the News Release from Citizens Action Coalition, the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Valley Watch and Save the Valley  dated July 2, 2012. These groups are opposing the Settlement Agreement filed by the OUCC et al.

I urge you to read these News Release, watch the hearings and decide for yourself if the IURC should accept the proposed Settlement Agreement. Don’t be surprised if portions of the hearings go off-line or “in camera” and you see the following message:

HEARING OFFLINE

The IURC’s hearing will resume shortly due to a scheduled break or an in camera session. An in camera session is where parties to the case discuss matters required to be kept confidential in accordance with IC 5-14-3-4. These sessions are limited to certain witnesses and parties authorized to view the confidential information. Once the break is over or the in camera session concludes, the online video streaming will resume.

 PLEASE BE PATIENT.

Watch Indiana Michigan Power Rate Increase Hearings at IURC June 18-29 June 19, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in American Electric Power (AEP), Indiana Michigan Power Company (I&M), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC).
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Evidentiary hearings presenting information by the Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) and Intervenors as well as rebuttal testimony by Indiana Michigan Power in their rate increase case before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) in Cause No. 44075 started yesterday (6/18/2012) and will continue each day at 9:30 am through June 29.

Testimony in this rate case was prefiled by the OUCC, the cities of South Bend and Fort Wayne, Inovateus Solar and others.

Those wishing to watch the hearings on-line should visit http://www.in.gov/iurc/2624.htm

Testimony was prefiled and can be found by visiting https://myweb.in.gov/IURC/eds/, then <Search Cases> and then entering the Docket Number 44075. Please note that the prefiled testimony is quite voluminous.

ENJOY!