Duke Energy Edwardsport IGCC Settlement
After nearly ten years of litigation, Citizens Action Coalition recently joined a modified settlement regarding Duke Energy’s Edwardsport Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plant (IGCC) in Knox County, IN.
If approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), the modified settlement, which builds upon an initial settlement from September 2015, will pave the way for protections and savings for the customers of Duke Energy and bring additional economic and environmental benefits to all Hoosiers.
The initial settlement included the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Duke Energy Indiana Industrial Group, Nucor Steel-Indiana, and Duke Energy Indiana. In that settlement, Duke Energy agreed to not charge customers $85 million in operating costs accumulated since Duke controversially declared the plant “in-service” in June of 2013.
Additionally, that settlement placed cost caps on how much Duke will collect from customers for capital costs (through the end of 2018) and operational costs (through the end of 2017) for the Edwardsport coal gasification plant.
Information regarding that settlement can be found here: http://www.in.gov/oucc/files/Edwardsport_Settlement_OUCC_Release_9-18-15.pdf
The modified settlement was filed at the IURC on January 15, 2016 and included all of the parties to the September 2015 settlement, as well as CAC and our partners at Sierra Club, Save the Valley and Valley Watch.
The settlement can be viewed here: https://myweb.in.gov/IURC/eds/Modules/Ecms/Cases/Docketed_Cases/ViewDocument.aspx?DocID=0900b631801d2247
In addition to terms mentioned above from the initial settlement, additional items secured by CAC and our partners in the modified settlement include:
- Duke agreed to not collect $87.5 million from ratepayers in operating costs accumulated since June of 2013, $2.5 million higher than the amount agreed to in the original settlement;
- Duke agreed to retire or cease burning coal by the end of 2022 at Units 2 and 4 of the Gallagher Generation Station in Floyd County, IN. According to the Clean Air Task Force, pollution from the Gallagher coal-fired power plant contributes to 83 asthma attacks annually;
- Duke shareholders will provide $500,000 to fund small-scale solar installations for community, educational, religious, and non-profit organizations and/or low income residential customers in Duke Energy Indiana’s service territory, which will create jobs, diversify our energy portfolio, and save customers and taxpayers money;
- Duke shareholders will contribute $500,000 to the Helping Hand Fund benefiting Duke Energy Indiana's low-income customers struggling to pay their monthly bills, putting money back into the pockets of the working poor and increasing the energy and health security of our most vulnerable citizens and households;
- Duke agreed to report customer related billing data regarding all residential customers and low-income residential customers on an annual basis starting in 2016. Information CAC believes is critical to not only understanding the effect of current Indiana energy policy on customer bills, but also to creating informed policy in the future to ensure the affordability of monthly electric bills for all Hoosiers.
If the Commission approves the settlement, short-term protections for Duke ratepayers will be in place and in the long-term, CAC retains our right to challenge the costs and performance of the plant.
We continue to maintain our belief that Duke Energy's Edwardsport IGCC plant will never run as promised and operating and maintenance costs will continue to skyrocket.
Therefore, CAC will continue to track the costs of the plant and its actual performance – neither of which has been anywhere close to what was promised legislators, regulators, and the public.