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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Utility officials say local electric rates should remain stable

Thursday, October 6, 2005

- Cinergy expects to spend $1.08 billion on pollution controls in coming year

Executives from the Plainfield office of Cinergy/PSI met with area officials Monday in Terre Haute to ease concerns related to rising energy costs.

Kay Pashos, President of PSI Energy, assured the audience, including county commissioners, school officials and Brazil Mayor Tom Arthur, that electric bills would remain stable, due in part to an upcoming merger with Duke Energy.

"We'll be able to achieve synergies and savings that will allow us to keep rates about 3 percent lower than usual," she said. "(Our merger with Duke Energy) will save some costs that we can pass along through our rates."

Prices for some energy sources, particularly petroleum products, have spiked in recent months. Prices for natural gas utilities are expected to increase 40-50 percent in the coming year, according to Pashos. Rates for Cinergy will remain relatively stable, she said, because of the company's reliance on Indiana coal.

Cinergy purchases 15 million tons of coal annually, most of which is mined in Indiana. Ninety percent of the energy generated by Cinergy is derived from coal. One key disadvantage to the company's reliance on coal is its toll on the environment. According to News Media Relations Manager Angeline Protogere, Cinergy will spend $1.08 billion in the coming year to acheive compliance with increasingly stringent pollution laws, most recently the Clean Air Interstate Rules.

"It's an expensive proposition, what we're planning to spend in terms of capital to meet these new regulations," said Pashos.

Cinergy serves some 750,000 retail customers in Central and Southern Indiana, in addition to 40 wholesale customers in the state. Kirk Hobbs, Cinergy's Regional Director of Customer and Community Relations, said the meeting was held to solicit direct feedback from customers.

"We're trying to forge a great relationship with the communities that we serve," said Kirk Hobbs.

Brazil Mayor Tom Arthur expressed satisfaction with Cinergy's basic services, but noted he has been particularly impressed with the company's presence in the community.

"They keep the power on and the rates low," he said, "but they're also involved in the community. With some companies, you'll just see one truck (around town). With them, it's a much deeper involvement."

That involvement extends all the way to upper-level management. Rick Berger, a District Manager with Cinergy and originally a resident of Clay County, serves on several executive boards in the Brazil community, including the United Way and the Chamber of Commerce.

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