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. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

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