Utility commission to hear evidence on Vectren gas plant
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 evidentiary hearing in Cause No. 45052
Evansville Courier & Press USA TODAY NETWORK
EVANSVILLE – A natural gas power plant intended to replace Vectren’s aging coal-burning A.B. Brown generating station will be the subject of an Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission hearing Tuesday. The hearing will take place in Indianapolis at 9:30 a.m. A final decision is not expected until 2019.
At issue during the hearing will be whether or not the commission should give Vectren a certificate of public convenience and necessity approving the project.
This approval will include the maximum amount Vectren is allowed to spend on the project. Vectren will then be able to come back later and ask for a rate increase to recover that cost, said Stephanie Hodgin, IURC spokeswoman.
Vectren’s proposed plant will cost an estimated $900 million, according to the company, and generate between 800 and 900 megawatts of power. The cost includes the natural gas pipeline needed to serve it. Vectren would close two 245megawatt generating units at A.B. Brown in Posey County and a 90megawatt unit at its F.B. Culley power plant in Warrick County.
The new plant, if approved, is targeted to begin operations in 2023 and employ about 35 fulltime workers.
Tuesday’s hearing is not for public comments although the public may attended. Instead, Vectren, other parties who are intervenors in the case, and the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, will present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.
Afterward, there will be time to file written comments and rebuttals before the commission makes its decision.
The commission heard public testimony during a hearing a the University of Southern Indiana in July.
The OUCC represents the public interest in cases before the utility commission. In August, it filed testimony urging the commission to reject Vectren’s proposal.
It argued the project was too large and that the company did not consider less expensive options.
Company officials said various scenarios were explored during the public process leading up to its most recent Integrated Resource Plan in 2016.