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Indianapolis utility will spend $511M for power plant upgrades

Updated: February 24, 2013 6:36AM



INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana power company plans to spend more than a half-billion dollars to reduce its mercury emissions to comply with new federal regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Indianapolis Power & Light Co. said Tuesday the $511 million in upgrades at plants in Indianapolis and in Petersburg in southwestern Indiana are part of its effort to meet EPA rules designed to curb toxic emissions from oil- and coal-fired power plants, which are the largest remaining sources of man-made mercury in the environment. The EPA rules are expected to be fully implemented by 2016.

IPL’s proposal must be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. IPL is also asking the state to approve a rate increase to cover the cost of the project, expected to take about three years to complete.

Greg Fennig, vice president of community relations for IPL, said ratepayers could expect a 2 percent to 3 percent annual increase for a “number of years.”

“There are a number of utilities making investments in this arena,” said Danielle McGrath, a spokeswoman for the state’s utility regulatory commission. “Every utility is going to be unique in terms of what the situation is and what the request is.”

IPL is also discussing shutting down some of its older and smaller coal units, including the Eagle Valley plant near Martinsville, Fennig said.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in the food chain and can pose a threat to people who eat fish tainted with it. It can impair neurological development in fetuses, infants and children, according to the EPA.



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