Duke Energy reaches agreement with consumer groups on Edwardsport costs

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  • Customers will pay $30 million less for costs at the company's Edwardsport coal gasification power plant

  • Agreement provides $1.7 million out of shareholder funds for low-income energy assistance and renewable energy development

PLAINFIELD, Ind. -- If approved by state utility regulators, Duke Energy Indiana customers will pay $30 million less for costs at the company's Edwardsport coal gasification power plant due to an agreement with some of the state's consumer groups.

The proposal, which was filed with state regulators today, is subject to Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approval.

Participants in the agreement are the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the Indiana Industrial Group representing Duke Energy's Indiana customers, and Nucor Steel-Indiana.

The agreement will remain in effect until new rates are established in the company's next base rate case, which is expected to be filed in mid-2019 with rates effective in mid-2020. It addresses the pending Edwardsport filing at the commission and eliminates the need for future filings until the overall rate case.

"If approved, this agreement saves customers money and provides rate certainty between now and our next base rate review," said Duke Energy Indiana President Melody Birmingham-Byrd. "Importantly, Edwardsport's performance has been strong, setting a record of 464 days of continuous net generation through April 2018."

Edwardsport is a dual-fuel plant that can run on coal and natural gas, and in 2017 it was available for service 99 percent of the time when factoring in both fuels.

Because of the agreement's provisions, Duke Energy expects to take a pretax charge of approximately $32 million in the third quarter of 2018.

Key provisions of the proposed settlement include:

  • The company has agreed not to bill customers $30 million of operating costs deferred since the plant's in-service date.
  • Customer bills will decrease approximately 0.5% and will not be adjusted for  Edwardsport plant costs until the time of a decision in the company's next base rate case. 
  • The agreement also designates $1.7 million out of shareholder funds for low-income energy assistance and renewable energy development.

Background on the Edwardsport project
The 618-megawatt Edwardsport plant uses state-of-the-art technology to gasify coal, strip out pollutants, and then burn that cleaner gas to produce electricity.

This advanced, integrated gasification combined cycle technology significantly improves plant efficiency. The plant began commercial operation in June 2013.

About Duke Energy
Duke Energy Indiana's operations provide about 6,700 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 820,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it the state's largest electric supplier.

Duke Energy Indiana is a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK).

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., with approximately 29,000 employees and a generating capacity of 49,500 megawatts. The company is transforming its customers' experience, modernizing its energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding its natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.

The company's Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit serves approximately 7.6 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Its Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to approximately 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. Its Commercial Renewables unit operates a growing renewable energy portfolio across the U.S.

A Fortune 125 company, Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2018 "World's Most Admired Companies" list and Forbes' 2018 "America's Best Employers" list.

More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center includes news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

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