New Laws Address Regulation and Cost Recovery for Coal Ash
On May 4, 2023, Governor Holcomb signed House Bill 1623 into law as Public Law 249, which limits state regulation of coal combustion residuals. The new law precludes the adoption of rules surrounding the disposal of coal combustion residuals in landfills or surface impoundments that are more stringent than applicable federal standards. More information on Pubic Law 249 is available here.
This law joins Senate Bill 9, which was signed by the Governor on March 2, 2023 as Public Law 2, that seeks to legislatively abrogate an Indiana Supreme Court case from last year on increasing customer rates for coal ash cleanups. In Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, et al. v. Duke Energy Indiana, LLC, 183 N.E.3d 266 (Ind. 2022), the court reviewed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s (“IURC”) approval of Duke Energy’s request to increase its retail rates to recover $212 million for coal-ash site closures and remediation. The court held that Duke Energy’s effort to recover costs incurred prior to June 2020 constituted impermissible retroactive ratemaking. More information on the Indiana Supreme Court’s opinion is available here. Public Law 2 specifies that utilities do not need pre-approval of the costs of complying with federally mandated requirements provided that IURC ultimately finds the costs are just and reasonable. More information about Public Law 2 is available here.