Consumer Agency Opposes $2 Billion Duke Energy Upgrades

Nov 19, 2014

Part of Duke Energy's plan includes an upgrade to "smart meters."
Credit David Pitkin / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dpitkin/

The state agency that represents utility ratepayers is asking another state department to deny Duke Energy’s $1.9 billion proposal to upgrade its systems. 

Duke Energy’s seven-year plan aims to upgrade its electric grid that services more than 800,000 homes and businesses in Indiana. Before Duke Energy can implement it, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission must approve the plan.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, which reviews utility requests, is recommending the IURC not do so.

Office of Utility Consumer Counselor spokesman Anthony Swinger says Duke Energy has not provided enough information.

“We’ve been able to thoroughly look over the evidence and information that the utility company has presented,” Swinger says. “But we simply are not finding the details and the information about costs that need to be there.”

Duke Energy says it “strongly disagrees” with the OUCC’s assessment.

“This plan is about modernizing our electric grid and bringing our system into the 21st century. It also has the benefit of generating new Indiana jobs and significant economic investment over the seven-year period,” Duke Energy spokesman Lew Middleton said in a prepared statement.

Duke Energy has until December 5 to file a rebuttal, which Middleton says the company will do.

The IURC must give its final decision on whether to approve the plan by March 27, 2015.