The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is recommending the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission deny a plan by Evansville-based Vectren Corp. (NYSE: VVC) to build a new natural gas power plant in Posey County. The OUCC has filed testimony stating Vectren "has not fully evaluated all viable options" for meeting the future needs of customers.
Vectren first announced the nearly $900 million plans for the new power plant in February. The facility would be built at the site of the current A.B. Brown generating plant in Posey County. The company says it would install emissions control technology on one of its five coal-fired generation units and retire the remaining four units in 2023. The new natural gas-fired plant would replace the retired units.
The OUCC says Vectren has not fully evaluated all options for extending the useful lives of the coal-fired units beyond 2023. The office adds Vectren did not fully evaluate the option of transitioning the two coal-fired units at the A.B. Brown plant to gas-fired units, which it says would cost "far less" than building a new plant.
"Any electric utility that seeks to overhaul its generation fleet today must evaluate all possible options. It must also carefully examine the ways the options would impact its customers in terms of both money and electric reliability," said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Bill Fine. "In this case, Vectren has not evaluated all options or shown that it is proceeding in the most prudent manner."
Vectren has until September 10 to file rebuttal testimony. The IURC is expected to issue an order on the case next year.
Vectren has issued a response that you can see below: