Consumer and Environmental Advocates Press Duke Energy to Allow Opportunities For Public Comment on Long-term Forecast Report. The OEC issued the following statement:
For Immediate Release:
(Columbus, OH)— On August 26, 2010, the Ohio Environmental Council (“OEC”) joined other Ohio consumer and environmental advocates to request the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (“PUCO”) to order Duke Energy Ohio (“Duke”) to hold public hearings on its recently filed long-term forecast report.
So far, the multi-billion dollar utility has refused to hold public hearings on its long-term energy plan in its service area, denying Duke Customers a convenient opportunity to comment on a potential new nuclear plant that they might be forced to pay for.
The long-term forecast report, filed at the PUCO in June, details how the utility anticipates meeting consumer demand for electricity in the next decade. One option for meeting demand raised in the report is the construction of a new nuclear facility in Piketon, Ohio. Duke’s long-term forecast also explains how the company will satisfy Ohio’s Alternative Energy and Energy Efficiency Standards.
After the OEC and other consumer and environmental groups filed a motion requesting that Duke hold at least two public hearings in the Cincinnati area, the utility filed an objection, calling the public comment periods “entirely unnecessary.”
Duke’s filing also suggests that the issues raised in the report, including the construction of a nuclear facility, are not appropriate issues to discuss at public hearings:
“Many of the proposed topics [at the hearing] require the analysis of technical experts and are, therefore, not reasonable issues to ask the public to discuss in local hearings.”
“Duke’s filing raises the possibility that it will build a multi-billion dollar nuclear facility—and that its customers will be asked to pay for it,” said Will Reisinger, staff attorney for the OEC and lead counsel the case. “We think that Duke’s customers—who may be asked to pay for and reside near this plant—will care about the issue” said Reisinger.
“These are certainly issues that customers can understand. It is entirely reasonable for Duke to hold two or more public hearings in southern Ohio to discuss these issues.”
1 PUCO Case No. 10-503-EL-FOR, Memorandum Contra at 1.
2 Memorandum Contra at 4.
Read Coverage of the issue in the Cincinnati Enquirer