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Duke On Defensive For Management Of New Indiana Plant

Duke Energy executives are on the hot seat again this week in Indiana . The state's Utility Regulatory Commission is considering how much Duke should be able to charge customers for the skyrocketing cost of a new coal-fired power plant in Indiana. The plant is nearly complete, but the price tag is more than $1 billion above Duke's original projections. The company has been criticized for mismanaging the plant's construction. Duke CEO Jim Rogers spent three hours on the witness stand last Thursday during which he testified the cost of the new power plant in Indiana is now more per-kilowatt than any of the company's other coal, gas or nuclear plants. The Indianapolis Star reports that Duke has has hired a management consulting firm for $3 million to study Duke's management of the plant and present expert testimony to the Utility Regulatory Commission. Duke's new Indiana plant is under increased scrutiny in part because of an ethics scandal that suggests some of the company's past dealings with state regulators have been too cozy.