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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ind. Decisions - In a NFP opinion, the COA "upholds 16 percent rate increase for Duke customers"

John Russell of the Indianapolis Star has a story up now about the Court of Appeals decision today in Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Inc., Save the Valley, Inc., Sierra Club, and Valley Watch, Inc. v. Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, et al. (NFP) The headline: "Appeals court upholds 16 percent rate increase for Duke customers."

Here is the ILB's summary of the case (3rd case).

The opinion was categorized by the Court of Appeals panel as Not for Publication, despite the requirement of Appellate Rule 65(A)(3) that a COA opinion shall be published if the case "involves a legal or factual issue of unique interest or substantial public importance."

From the story:

The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a decision by state regulators to raise electricity rates on 790,000 customers to pay for Duke Energy’s $3.5 billion Edwardsport coal-gasification power plant.

The court today ruled unanimously against a motion filed by environmental and citizens groups seeking to overturn the decision made by state regulators in 2012.

The decision allows Duke to charge its 790,000 Hoosier customers a 16 percent increase in their monthly bills to pay for the construction and financing costs of the utility company's power plant in Knox County. Much of the increase already has occurred.

The groups had said ratepayers should not have to foot the bill for what they called "project mismanagement,” citing cost overruns and questions over proper regulatory oversight. The Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition and Valley Watch filed the appeal last fall.

The appeals court acknowledged that the plant, which was originally supposed to cost $1.985 billion, suffered huge cost overruns, but said state regulators took that into account, and that Duke will pay for some of the higher costs.

“The record indicates that imprudence increased some construction costs,” the court wrote. “However, this reality was not ignored by the settlement terms.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 19, 2014 03:41 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions