Appeals court bounces IURC ruling favoring Duke on Edwardsport plant

September 8, 2014

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission failed to comply with laws and regulations when it approved an order allowing Duke Energy to pass along to ratepayers certain construction costs for the $3 billion Edwardsport coal gasification plant in Knox County.

The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded to the IURC its order approving Duke’s request to pass on to customers 100 percent of financing costs incurred from Oct. 1, 2011, to March 30, 2012. The court also remanded on the issue of whether Duke could be allowed to consider 50 percent of the plant “in-service,” which also increased rates.

“(T)he Commission also failed to make adequate findings on all factual determinations material to its ultimate conclusions to allow Duke to pass along to ratepayers all of Duke’s … costs,” Judge James Kirsch wrote for the panel in a 23-page order.

The panel held that the commission “reached no conclusion and made no findings on whether or how the plant could be declared 50 percent in-service for ratemaking purposes. … We must remand this portion of the proceedings to the Commission for a clear statement of the policy and evidentiary considerations underlying its determination.”

Regarding the delay and whether it could be billed to ratepayers as the IURC approved, the panel likewise found that the commission made no findings in support of its action.

“We remand this issue to the Commission for findings as to whether the three-month delay was chargeable to Duke, and if so, what impact that delay had on Duke’s customers’ rates,” Kirsch wrote.

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, 93A02-1305-EX-394, was brought by several public-interests groups.



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