« Ind. Gov't. - Still more on bill proposing changes to the 2009 mortgage settlement conference law | Main | Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 3 NFP memorandum decisions) »

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Ind. Decisions - "COA deals setback to $1.2 billion NIPSCO modernization plan"

Yesterday's Court of Appeals ruling in NIPSCO Industrial Group, and, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor v. Northern Indiana Public Service Company, et al. is the subject of a story today by Keith Benman in the NWI Times. Some quotes:

The Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday dealt a setback to NIPSCO's $1.2 billion electric modernization plan, issuing a ruling that could affect similar plans by other utilities.

The court ruled the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission erred in several respects in its Feb. 17, 2014 orders approving NIPSCO's plan. It affirmed some parts of the IURC's orders, including its interpretation of a 2 percent cap, which is a key victory for the utility.

In addition to authorizing the $1.2 billion in improvements in its February orders, the IURC approved customer charges to pay for them. Those come in the form of yearly rate increases that will total 4.9 percent by 2020, according to NIPSCO estimates. * * *

The IURC's February 2014 order had been challenged by some of NIPSCO's largest industrial customers as well as the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

NIPSCO brought the case for its electric modernization plan before the IURC under legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2013. It was the first utility in the state to do so.

The industrial group challenging the IURC's orders before the Court of Appeals was composed of BP Products North America, Praxair, USG Corp., and ArcelorMittal USA.

"We are pleased with the Court of Appeals decision finding NIPSCO's plan really failed to follow the requirements of the statute," said Jennifer Terry, an attorney with Lewis & Kappes, the law firm representing the industrial group.

Terry said it is possible the industrial group could ask the IURC to order NIPSCO to refund customer charges already collected under the IURC's orders.

The industrial customers have long contended the utility should be more specific about projects it intends to undertake. The court sided with them, ruling the IURC was not provided with enough detail on the projects to approve the special charges to pay for them.

There is more of interest in the story.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 9, 2015 10:16 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions