Vectren Seeks Approval For Natural Gas Storage Enhancements

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Evansville-based Vectren Corp. (NYSE: VVC) is requesting approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for a $14 million plan to put enhanced safety measures in place for its four natural gas storage facilities. The filing comes in response to new federally-mandated rules on natural gas storage field safety.

The storage fields, located in White, Monroe and Clark counties, are essentially underground warehouses that store excess natural gas to be used to in times of peak demand. As a result of the new rule from the Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration, Vectren says it has developed a storage field integrity management program, which includes "updating environmental protocols, enhanced storage field training, operator qualification programs and an ongoing assessment of the condition of its storage assets."

Vectren says, if approved by the IURC, the plan should only affect customers' bills by less than 20 cents per month. The plan is expected to go into effect next summer.

"Vectren has always been highly focused upon safety and reliability of our energy systems, and today’s filing is to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to enhance the safety systems of our natural gas storage fields to ensure compliance with new federal regulations," said Mike Roeder, president of Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana - North. "A plan to comply with the new rule must be in place by January of 2018. Due to the current safety plans already in place Vectren’s compliance with the new rule will be able to be achieved in an affordable manner for customers."

The utility did not give an estimated timeline for a ruling by the IURC.

Meantime, Vectren is reporting second quarter net income of $37.6 million, up from $32.3 million during the same period last year. Chief Executive Officer Carl Chapman says the utility continues to advance its electric grid modernization and generation diversification plans that "will set the stage for future growth."

You can view the full earnings report by clicking here.

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