Ind. regulators approve modified deal with Duke

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm •  Published: December 27, 2012

Olson said that while the settlement's "alleged hard cap" specifies that ratepayers will pay no more than $2.6 billion, the actual amount will be about $3.3 billion because ratepayers will also have to foot at least $650 million in financing costs for the plant.

But Anthony Swinger, spokesman for the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, said the $2.6 billion includes construction-related finance charges except for about $54 million that has accrued since June 30. Protogere confirmed Swinger's analysis.

When completed, the 630-megawatt plant will be one of the world's largest coal-gasification plants. It will convert coal into a synthetic gas that will be burned in a traditional turbine power plant to generate electricity.

Protogere said Thursday that construction work on the plant is nearly complete and that the complex successfully produced its first electricity from gasified coal during startup and testing. The plant is expected to be in commercial operation by the middle of next year.

"Today's decision resolves key regulatory issues and allows us to focus on bringing into service a plant that will help us meet increasingly strict federal environmental regulations while still using an abundant local resource, Indiana coal," Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann said in a statement. "Edwardsport will serve the electric energy needs of our Indiana customers for decades to come."

Duke is Indiana's largest electric utility, with 780,000 customers in 69 of the state's 92 counties. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company has 4 million electric customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, along with 500,000 natural gas customers in Ohio and Kentucky.

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