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BusINess » Energy

Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Asking for some quiet

(Photograph by Adam Madison.)

(Photograph by Adam Madison.)

When your neighbor throws a party that gets a little loud, a simple phone call to the police should quiet them down. The same applies to barking dogs and animal control. However, when it’s a multibillion-dollar company causing the disturbance, things aren’t quite so simple.

The neighbors of the BP Whiting refinery are learning this the hard way. There is a very distinct hum and vibration emanating from the plant causing some restless nights for some angry residents. Complaints were first called in to BP just before Christmas. Weeks later, citizens were expressing their frustrations at a community meeting hosted by the mayor.
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Indiana regulator, NiSource director planned day at the races

The field breaks from the starting gate in the first race on Keeneland's opening day of the fall meet in 2006, in Lexington, Ky. This August, a day after Indiana's top utility regulator approved an order authorizing NIPSCO to hike electric rates, a director of the utility's parent company sent a thankful e-mail inviting him to take in thoroughbred farms and the races in Kentucky Bluegrass country. (Photograph by Ed Reinke, file/The Associated Press.)

The field breaks from the starting gate in the first race on Keeneland's opening day of the fall meet in 2006, in Lexington, Ky. This August, a day after Indiana's top utility regulator approved an order authorizing NIPSCO to hike electric rates, a director of the utility's parent company sent a thankful e-mail inviting him to take in thoroughbred farms and the races in Kentucky Bluegrass country. (Photograph by Ed Reinke, file/The Associated Press.)

A day after Indiana’s top utility regulator approved an order authorizing NIPSCO to hike electric rates, a director of the utility’s parent company sent a thankful e-mail inviting him to take in thoroughbred farms and the races in Kentucky Bluegrass country.

In the next two weeks, the invitation was firmed up with offers of a stretch limo, a racetrack suite and dinner at an exclusive Lexington restaurant for then-Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Chairman David Lott Hardy and his wife.
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NIPSCO wants to snuff 16.8 percent rate hike

A NIPSCO meter reader records numbers from a meter as he walks through a Gary neighborhood. If the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission agrees to vacate NIPSCO's first electric rate request for a 16.8 percent increase for residential customers, it would spare the company and the commission from having to proceed on two major rate cases at once. In the second case filed in November, NIPSCO asked for a more moderate 7.9 percent increase for residential customers. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan, File/The Times.)

A NIPSCO meter reader records numbers from a meter as he walks through a Gary neighborhood. If the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission agrees to vacate NIPSCO's first electric rate request for a 16.8 percent increase for residential customers, it would spare the company and the commission from having to proceed on two major rate cases at once. In the second case filed in November, NIPSCO asked for a more moderate 7.9 percent increase for residential customers. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan, File/The Times.)

NIPSCO filed a joint motion Friday to vacate the first of its two recent electric rate cases, one that called for much more drastic increases for its residential customers.

If the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission agrees to vacate the first rate case, it would spare NIPSCO and the commission from having to proceed on two major rate cases at once.

Right now, both are still busy with the rate case filed in summer 2008. The IURC issued an order in that case in August authorizing the utility to raise electric rates.
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Local schools serious players in economic development

NIPSCO engineer Tim Wright, left, stands on the roof of the NIPSCO Bailly Generating Station building in Chesterton with Dui Huang, Bin Wu and Tom Roesel, who are students in Purdue University Calumet's Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation. PUC students saved NIPSCO $1.9 million annually on a pollution control project. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

NIPSCO engineer Tim Wright, left, stands on the roof of the NIPSCO Bailly Generating Station building in Chesterton with Dui Huang, Bin Wu and Tom Roesel, who are students in Purdue University Calumet's Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation. PUC students saved NIPSCO $1.9 million annually on a pollution control project. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, is mining something besides iron ore these days—the knowledge and technology generated by local universities and colleges.

The company has a College Partnership Program and challenged Purdue University Calumet students at the new Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation, or CIVS, to find a solution for a technical inefficiency in its strip processing line.
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Reports: NiSource could be Exelon target

The NIPSCO power plant in Michigan City is shown. Despite published reports that Exelon may be targeting NiSource, an industry observer said the only thing that he can see about NiSource that might be attractive to Exelon is the adjacent location of NIPSCO electric in Indiana, which borders Exelon subsidiary ComEd's territory in Illinois. (Times file photo)

The NIPSCO power plant in Michigan City is shown. Despite published reports that Exelon may be targeting NiSource, an industry observer said the only thing that he can see about NiSource that might be attractive to Exelon is the adjacent location of NIPSCO electric in Indiana, which borders Exelon subsidiary ComEd's territory in Illinois. (Times file photo)

A published report that electric utility giant Exelon Corp. is looking to acquire a natural gas utility, with NiSource Inc. a leading target, is prompting some skepticism among industry observers.

“We’re sure that EXC (Exelon) is always looking but are skeptical of this radical change in strategy, or that EXC would pursue such a move very aggressively, as we don’t see what ’synergies’ might be realized,” Gimme Credit utilities analyst Phil Adams wrote Monday in a note to investors.
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NWI customers will feel impact of state energy deal

The state has reached a 30-year deal to buy synthetic natural gas from a $2.6 billion coal-gasification plant planned for southern Indiana in a move that will affect NIPSCO customers’ bills.

The Indiana Finance Authority on Thursday voted 5-0 to buy synthetic natural gas from Indiana Gasification LLC for the next 30 years and have that gas distributed to customers of existing Indiana utilities. The company is a subsidiary of Leucadia National Corp.

Gov. Mitch Daniels touted the vote Thursday, saying it will “protect ratepayers against the likelihood of higher long-term gas prices.”
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First cars roll out of N. Ind. electric car plant

A northern Indiana plant owned by a Norwegian company that makes electric cars has finished work on its first fully-electric cars.

Fifteen cars rolled out of THINK North America’s Elkhart plant on Wednesday, bound for Indianapolis. The cars will be used primarily by the state Department of Natural Resources as part of its fleet of vehicles.

Gov. Mitch Daniels was scheduled to accept the vehicles Thursday. WSBT-TV reports that the cars are part of the state’s “Project Plug-In” that’s intended to make Indiana a leader in making and using plug-in vehicles.

THINK opened its plant in an empty plant in Elkhart in October. Company officials plan to roll out 300 electric cars from the plant by the end of the year. The plant currently employs more than 25 workers.

Information from: WSBT-TV, 22wsbt.com.


Helping customers save energy

USA Insulation employee Robert Cagleon uses a small camera to look for insulation through pre-drilled holes on a house in Calumet City. (Photograph by Jim Bis/The Times.)

USA Insulation employee Robert Cagleon uses a small camera to look for insulation through pre-drilled holes on a house in Calumet City. (Photograph by Jim Bis/The Times.)

As another cold winter quickly approached, Jim Waters, a pipefitter for 18 years, decided it would make a great time for opening a USA Insulation franchise.

“It’s better to work for yourself than someone else,” Waters said. “My friend bought a franchise, so I studied this for a year before making the move.”

USA Insulation was established in 1977 in Chicago and since then has insulated more than 20,000 homes. Franchises typically cost about $200,000, with royalty fees of 5 percent.
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How a clean environment makes NWI healthier and sustainable

“Two for One,” “Kill two birds with one stone” are phrases that are part of our everyday language. How do these common phrases relate to Northwest Indiana sustainability? This is a conversation that we must have because it is about protecting ourselves in places we live, work and raise our families.

Virtually all of the strategies that promote Northwest Indiana sustainability have more than one benefit—or deemed co-benefits. In many cases, they provide much more than just a “two-fer.” Sustainability strategies save money, conserve resources for future generations, improve public health, and make Northwest Indiana communities better places to live.

Governmental education has promoted us to prevent pollution at the source and promoted the principles of responsible environmental stewardship, sustainability, and innovation. We all have read the negative news of where NWI ranks in terms of air quality and environmental progressiveness. Read the rest of this entry »


NIPSCO’s seismic rate shift rattles consumers

Jerry Armellino, of Valparaiso, holds up recent NIPSCO bills. He is disgusted by the 16.8 percent proposed NIPSCO electric rate hike for residential customers and has written to elected officials asking them to fight it. The increase is under appeal. (Photograph by The Times.)

Jerry Armellino, of Valparaiso, holds up recent NIPSCO bills. He is disgusted by the 16.8 percent proposed NIPSCO electric rate hike for residential customers and has written to elected officials asking them to fight it. The increase is under appeal.
(Photograph by The Times.)

A proposed 16.8 percent electric rate hike for NIPSCO residential customers is being driven in large part by a shift of cost burdens from industry to residential customers, according to regulatory filings and interviews with parties involved in the case.

Some consumer advocates are drawing parallels with the 2002 property tax reassessment, which reduced assessments on the region’s largest industries by hundreds of millions of dollars and shifted the tax burden to homeowners and landlords. That shift was upheld by the courts as fair.

“The homeowners already took it on the chin during the reassessment, and now they are taking it on the chin with the NIPSCO rate increase,” said Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., who had the city sign on as an intervener in the first months of the NIPSCO rate case.

NIPSCO maintains its rates for individual customer classes have grown out of whack in the 20 years since its last rate case, with industrial and commercial customers subsidizing residential service.

“NIPSCO laid that on the table,” said NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer. “The challenge is trying to decide what is fair and what is appropriate, but it does make it difficult to obtain agreement.”

The proposed rates

The monthly bill for a typical customer using 735 kilowatts of electricity would increase to $92.96 from the current $79.57 under NIPSCO’s proposed rates, according to the utility.
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