CenterPoint Cases Before The IURC In Which CAC Has Intervened
File date: 5/25/2023
Rather than filing a new 3-year DSM plan, CenterPoint seeks a one-year extension of its 2021-2023 DSM Plan (which was a settled case) for the following reasons: (1) it plans to file a base rates case at the end of 2023, (2) it filed its 2023 IRP in late May 2023 and would like to incorporate the EE selected by the IRP into this new plan, (3) the State’s technical resource manual is undergoing an update, and (4) it would like to evaluate programs to fill the gap after the discontinuation of the residential lighting program.
File date: 5/24/2023
CenterPoint Electric wants $454 million for their transmission and distribution system. If approved by the IURC, this request will result in a $14.68 monthly increase by 2028 for the average customer. CenterPoint is proposing to charge for this increase through: 1) A fixed monthly charge which will increase to $9.08 by 2028; and 2) A volumetric rate based on your usage which will increase to $5.60 by 2028 for a household using 1,000 kWh per month.
File date: 1/3/2023
On November 16th, CenterPoint initiated its quarterly Fuel Adjustment Clause (“FAC”) tracker before the IURC, requesting an increase by $13.20 for the average residential customer electric bill for the months of February, March, and April of 2023. A major reason for the looming utility bill increase is because CenterPoint’s Culley Unit 3 coal-fired power plant broke this summer, meaning CenterPoint has had to purchase expensive replacement power from the wholesale market. Culley Unit 3 went offline in June of 2022 and remained offline for a significant amount of time. The OUCC requested a subdocket “to provide the Commission and parties sufficient time to examine whether and how the forced outage of Culley 3 impacts CEI South’s fuel procurement, contracting and hedging and whether modifications should be made to CEI South’s proposed and future fuel factors.” The Commission granted this request on January 3, 2023, and opened this subdocket.
File date: 6/17/2021
Order date: 6/28/2022
CenterPoint requests approval to construct two natural gas combustion turbines (“CTs”) totaling approximately 460 megawatts of capacity and several projects to address the United States EPA’s Coal Combustion Residuals rule for the handling and disposal of dry ash. CenterPoint will also eventually be seeking ratepayer recovery through its Fuel Adjustment Clause tracker of Texas Gas Transmission’s construction, installation, maintenance and ownership of a 24-mile pipeline from Kentucky under the Ohio River and onto the AB Brown site where the two CTs would be located.
Related: FERC Docket No. EL21-467-000
Texas Gas Transmission, LLC - Henderson Pipeline Project CPCN
Order date: 10/20/2022
Status: under appeal
Texas Gas seeks a CPCN under Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act, which would grant federal permission to build a new 24-mile gas pipeline through parts of Kentucky and Indiana, crossing the Ohio River. CenterPoint will also eventually be seeking ratepayer recovery through its Fuel Adjustment Clause tracker of Texas Gas Transmission’s construction, installation, maintenance and ownership of this 24-mile pipeline from Kentucky under the Ohio River and onto the AB Brown site where the two gas plants from IURC Cause Number 45564 would be located. On October 20, 2022, FERC approved the Texas Gas pipeline CPCN. We filed an appeal at the DC Circuit on February 21, 2023.
File date: 11/1/2022
Order date: 6/27/2023
Status: dismissed without prejudice
CenterPoint is proposing to close the remaining ash pond at Culley by removal. CAC filed testimony on February 10 arguing that, while we support CenterPoint’s decision to use closure by removal, it is inappropriate for CenterPoint to earn a return “on” this project, consider this a capital project rather than an O&M expense, or earn additional contingency on the project.
While the OUCC, CAC and CenterPoint filed their respective proposed orders on 3/21/23, Governor Holcomb signed Senate Bill 9 (2023) into law on 3/22/23, which modified language of the Federal Mandate Statute by allowing a utility to recover costs it “ha[d] incurred” prior to Commission approval. The parties filed briefing on this issue, but the IURC nonetheless later reopened the record and convened an attorneys’ conference to discuss the changes to law. On 5/30/23, CenterPoint filed a motion for leave to dismiss the case without prejudice and leave to refile the case under the new statutory authority. CAC filed a response on 6/7/23. The IURC dismissed the case without prejudice on 6/27/23.
File Date: 1/10/2023
Order Date: 6/6/2023
CenterPoint requests a CPCN for a wind project with an estimated $636 million capital cost. Notably, the project is not located in Indiana. The project’s construction phase is expected to start during the second half of 2023, and the project is expected to be operational by January 1, 2025. The estimated residential bill impact for a residential customer that uses 1,000 kWh per month is approximately $20 per month, depending on the final cost of the project, although CenterPoint will allocate the revenue requirements after conducting a cost-of-service study in its next general rate case. CenterPoint would indirectly acquire the project via a Build Transfer Agreement, where its parent company would monetize the tax credits without the need for a tax equity partner.
File Date: 7/29/2022
Order Date: 1/11/2023
Status: settlement approved
The project is a solar generation facility located in Pike County near Petersburg, Indiana. The Project is anticipated to be completed by March 2025. The Pike County Solar Project is being constructed by Crosstrack Solar Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Invenergy LLC. Although CAC participated in settlement negotiations, we did not join the approved settlement, instead just not objecting to it.
File date: 5/10/2022
Order date: 1/4/2023
Senate Enrolled Act 386 (2021) established a pilot program specifically for CenterPoint for the securitization of their soon-to-be retired AB Brown coal-fired power plant. The goal of SEA386 was to reduce the overall cost to customers of the retirement of generation assets.
CAC took issue with several aspects of this filing in testimony submitted on August 3rd. We lost on most issues but the IURC agreed with us on a few. Those issues were: (1) CenterPoint’s Minimum Bill structure should be denied as it is unfair and would result in a net bill increase for some customers. The IURC disagreed and approved the proposed minimum bill (2) CenterPoint’s Securitization Bond term should be increased from 15 years to 18 years minimum, or 19 years if feasible. The IURC agreed and ordered a bond term of 18 years (3) CenterPoint’s return on equity contribution should be denied (or at least not be larger than the interest rate on the longest tranche of the Bond). The IURC agreed in part, approving an ROE for CenterPoint, but set the ROE at the interest rate of the longest tranche. (4) CenterPoint’s proposal to prohibit stakeholder participation in the post-financing order process should be denied, instead allowing at least one ratepayer representative to fully participate in the process and decision-making. The IURC disagreed and there will not be full participation by a ratepayer representative, and (5) CenterPoint’s proposal should be held to a lowest cost standard and accordingly modify the financing order to require fully accountable certifications from lead underwriter(s). The IURC disagreed.
File date: 8/25/2021
Order date: 5/4/2022
CenterPoint requests approval to enter into a PPA to purchase energy, capacity, and RECs from a 185 MW solar project in Vermillion County; and, a PPA to do the same from a 150 MW solar project in Knox County.
File date: 9/10/2021
Order date: 4/20/2022
Petitioner says its $1.2 billion gas TDSIC Plan for its North company consists of four broad project categories made up of work orders for eligible transmission, distribution and storage system improvements in order to (1) maintain or enhance the safety and reliability of Petitioner’s natural gas infrastructure (the “Safety and Reliability Projects”), (2) relocate and ensure the safety of gas infrastructure due to state or municipal public work (the “Public Improvement Projects”), (3) support the extension of natural gas energy to residential areas currently without access to natural gas (the “Rural Extension Projects”), and (4) facilitate targeted economic development in the state of Indiana (the “Targeted Economic Development Projects”). It includes a request for $419 million for a new 5-year TDSIC plan, and $800 million for projects to comply with PHMSA rules.
File date: 9/10/2021
Order date: 4/20/2022
Petitioner says its $280 million gas TDSIC Plan for its small South company consists of the same four broad project categories as its North case described above. It includes a request for $49 million for a new 5-year TDSIC plan, and $230 million for projects to comply with PHMSA rules, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulations.
File date: 5/8/2020
Order date: 4/7/2021
SEA309 (2017) ended net metering in Indiana. Net metering is a fair and simple way to credit solar owners for the electricity they generate but don’t use themselves. Instead, the solar owner earns a bill credit for energy shared with their neighbors on the electric grid valued at the same rate as electricity purchased from the utility - an even 1:1 swap. As a result of SEA309, Indiana’s investor-owned utilities replaced net metering with an arbitrarily designed Excess Distributed Generation (EDG) tariff that credits new solar customers far less on their monthly bills for the extra electricity they generate.
The IURC approved the new EDG tariff, but we appealed to the Court of Appeals. We won and the lower Court reversed the IURC order. However, CenterPoint and the IURC appealed this reversal to the Indiana Supreme Court. On January 4th, the Supreme Court issued an opinion reversing the lower Court ruling and re-affirming the IURC decision.
- Sarah Bowman at the IndyStar wrote a comprehensive piece about this in November 2022: Advocates, utilities ask Indiana Supreme Court to decide how solar customers are charged.
- In response to the January 2023 Supreme Court Opinion regarding net metering, CAC and our partners at Solar United Neighbors wrote an op-ed (Solar opinion undermines growing industry), which was published by the Indiana Capital Chronicle on January 9th.