Company’s alleged misdeeds mounting
The charges against Duke Energy continue to pile up.
The energy companys $2.9 million Edwardsport coal-gasification plant project was rife with controversy long before the company became embroiled in an ethics scandal that also involved the states regulators.
Now, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is accusing the company of concealing pertinent information from state regulators as well as mismanagement of the project.
The plant, which is under construction in southwest Indiana and scheduled to open next year, will be the largest coal-gasification plant in the world upon completion.
It will not serve customers in northeast Indiana, but the state agencys handling of the case could set precedents for how the state agency handles similar ratepayer complaints in the future.
State regulators originally sided with the company about pushing the projects building cost overruns of nearly $1 billion on to ratepayers.
But now the state consumer agency appears to be reversing its stance and siding with customers and consumer advocate groups.
The IOUCC recommended that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission force Duke to pay the costs of the overruns because the office believes that Dukes mismanagement of the project is responsible for those increased costs.
The representative from the consumer counselors office described it as a compelling case of a company that, through arrogance or incompetence, has unnecessarily cost ratepayers millions of dollars and has set back the publics trust in our regulatory process.
City native credible challenger to Burton
Indiana Congressman Dan Burton has long been considered vulnerable, but a Fort Wayne native may pose his most serious primary challenge yet.
Homestead High School graduate Susan Brooks is vice president and general counsel for Ivy Tech, a former U.S. attorney and one-time deputy mayor to Steve Goldsmith in Indianapolis.
Burton is a 15-term incumbent, making him automatically a strong candidate difficult to defeat. In 2010, so many opponents ran against him in the GOP primary, he was almost predetermined to win.
But Burton is also prone to words and actions that could kindly be described as eccentric. And Brooks will have some GOP muscle behind her campaign; her husband, David Brooks, is big in Indianapolis Republican circles, and it wont hurt that former Indiana GOP Chairman Murray Clark is co-chair of her campaign.