Duke Energy vs. Indiana Utility Regulation Commission - 11/5/12

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Monday  November 5, 2012 
1:30 PM  EST

1:30 p.m. 93A02-1111-EX-1042. A January 2009 ice storm in southern Indiana caused damage to Duke Energy Indiana’s electrical system. Duke filed a petition with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) seeking deferred accounting treatment for its operating expenses relating to this storm. An evidentiary hearing was held, and Scott Storms was the administrative law judge. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) opposed Duke’s request for deferred accounting treatment on grounds that it constituted both retroactive ratemaking and single-issue ratemaking. The IURC approved Duke’s request, and the OUCC appealed. While the OUCC’s appeal was pending before this Court, Storms accepted employment with Duke. After it was discovered that Storms was negotiating employment with Duke while cases involving Duke – including this one – were pending before him, an investigation was launched. Pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 37, the OUCC filed a verified motion for stay of appeal and remand. This Court granted the OUCC’s motion and remanded this case to the IURC. In addition, the IURC reopened this case for further review and consideration. When this case was reopened, both Duke and the OUCC presented updated testimony. This time, however, the IURC reached a different result, concluding that Duke’s request for deferred accounting did not merit an exception to the general prohibition against retroactive and single-issue ratemaking. Duke now appeals arguing that the IURC did not have any legal basis to reverse its earlier decision. The Indiana Energy Association appears as Amicus Curiae. 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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