Duke Energy filed a petition to appeal an Indiana Supreme Court decision that blocked the company from billing customers $212 million in unexpected costs due to federal coal ash regulations.
Senate Bill 9, signed by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on March 22, allows utility companies to bill customers in response to federal regulations without pre-approval, as long as it is approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
The next day, on March 23, Duke Energy filed a petition for the Indiana Supreme Court to rehear their case and affirm the IURC’s original order from 2019 in its entirety.
In 2019, the IURC allowed Duke Energy to increase rates to help pay for coal ash cleanup in compliance with federal regulations created by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA ordered utility companies to clean up coal ash, a residual from coal burning, due to concerns for human health as well as groundwater contamination.
However, on March 10, 2022, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that although Indiana’s laws allowed rate increases due to federal legislation — because Duke Energy had not sought pre-approval with the state government — it had not followed the correct process to recover costs. Indiana Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Slaughter argued in the decision this was considered “retroactive ratemaking,” an illegal process.
The judiciary has not yet commented on whether their case will be reheard.