Output at Duke Energy's new $3.5 billion power plant at Edwardsport was at less than 1% during the month of February according to figures the utility filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission the Star's John Russell is reporting. Duke blamed "equipment challenges" and a decision to "move up spring maintenance" during what's been one of the coldest winters on record in Indiana. Since going online last spring, the plant has encountered leaking valves, cracked pipes and frozen machinery. Duke claims it ramped up production at the plant in March, but it was still only operating at 44% of capacity.
As evidence of just how bad of a boondoggle the Edwardsport plant has turned out to be, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says that the plant actually consumed more energy than it produced last year. Consumer advocates complain that Duke is trying to get around an agreement with the IURC to cap construction costs for the new plant that are passed on to consumers by claiming them as ongoing maintenance expenses. The plant was originally supposed to cost $1.9 billion, or about $1.6 billion short of what it actually cost to be build. The IURC capped the cost passed on to consumers at $2.6 billion.
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