For 18 months, I have been trying to unravel one of the toughest secrets in Indiana.
Did Duke Energy Corp. have an improperly cozy relationship with Indiana utility regulators? And if so, did Indiana ratepayers get left holding the bag over the utility’s problem-ridden $3 billion power plant in Edwardsport?
Getting clear answers has been anything but simple.
It all began when the top lawyer at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, which was reviewing the Edwardsport power plant, left his job suddenly in September 2010 and went to work for Duke.
Both sides said they had done nothing wrong. They had an opinion from the Indiana State Ethics Commission that seemed to agree.
But my editors and I felt the situation required more investigating. What was going on behind the scenes? When did the IURC lawyer, who was deeply involved in the Edwardsport review, begin talking to Duke about a job?
We felt a lot was at stake. The plant had run into numerous construction and engineering problems, resulting in massive cost overruns that threatened to push up the monthly electricity bills for more than 700,000 Indiana customers..