Survey: Duke Energy Ratepayers Don't Want to Pick Up the Edwardsport Tab
INDIANAPOLIS – Under a proposed settlement by Duke Energy, consumers would pick up more than a billion dollars in cost overruns for the Edwardsport coal gasification plant.
Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition, says the settlement before Indiana regulators also fails to address unethical behavior by Duke and state officials throughout the project.
"One of the main problems with the settlement is that it allows the IURC (Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission) to ignore the issues of concealment and fraud and gross mismanagement and also improper communication and undue influence on the part of Duke Energy – if they approve the settlement as written – and essentially makes those charges disappear."
The coalition, in conjunction with the Sierra Club, Save the Valley and Valley Watch, released a study on the Edwardsport project, demanding an investigation, with an eye to preventing further corruption. Meanwhile, a survey of 801 Duke Energy customers shows that a majority believe Duke company shareholders – not ratepayers – should pick up the cost overruns.
Nachy Kanfer, deputy director of the Sierra Club’s central region, says the new technology used in the coal gasification process won't be saving the environment.
"This is a project that was sold on the basis of its environmental friendliness and cleanliness – but in reality it will be emitting 3-4 million tons of carbon pollution every year. "
Kanfer says after receiving ratepayer dollars to study carbon sequestration – Duke decided against using it at Edwardsport.
She says Indiana regulators must not accept the proposed settlement from Duke.
"Duke's philosophy seems to be, 'Oh, we fired the people who did wrong – now go ahead and give us the $3.5 billion.' And that's not the way it works. You may not get that $3.5 billion because it's going to come out in evidence there are other much cheaper ways to get energy."
Kanfer says wind and gas turn out to be much cheaper.