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Indiana court hears Duke Energy ice storm case

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm •  Published: December 10, 2012

David Steiner, an attorney for the commission, told the court that the utility panel had reviewed different information leading up to its second order, including new testimony in the case from a top Duke Energy executive.

"This was a completely new look at the evidence," Steiner said, adding that the decision was "fully supported by the law and the facts."

Storms, who had been both the commission's top attorney and its administrative law judge, was fired by Duke Energy in November 2010 after just two months on the job after it came to light that he discussed a position with Duke Energy while presiding over hearings concerning the company.

Gov. Mitch Daniels also ousted the utility commission's then-chairman, David Lott Hardy, saying he knew about Storms' ethical conflict but did nothing about it.

An internal audit by the commission found no evidence that Storms exerted "undue influence" on the panel's decisions. The storm damage case is the only one the panel reopened following the Storms ethics case.

At the time that ethics issue came to light, Duke Energy's ice storm costs case had been appealed by the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, which argued that Duke Energy's request was excessive.

Vaidik said the court would consider Monday's arguments and rule on the matter "as soon as possible."