By Amanda Durish Cook
FERC approved an uncontested partial settlement between Northern Indiana Public Service Co. and the owners of seven Indiana wind farms that contend the utility overcharged them for transmission upgrades.
The April 21 order (EL14-66-003) resolves issues related to NIPSCO’s 138-kV transmission upgrade funded by the Meadow Lake and Fowler Ridge wind farms. Under the settlement, the utility will pay $400,000 to Meadow Lake and $450,000 to Fowler Ridge to withdraw their complaint.
E.ON Climate & Renewables North America filed the original complaint against NIPSCO in 2014, objecting to the multiplier rate used in two transmission upgrade agreements with its Pioneer Trail and Settlers Trail wind farms. FERC later that year ruled that the multiplier was unreasonable and instructed the two companies to enter into settlement proceedings to determine a new rate (EL14-66).
Meadow Lake and Fowler Ridge filed a similar action after the ruling. NIPSCO charged their facilities and several other wind farms $35.8 million to cover 35 years of operating costs on top of the $50.4 million to build transmission. (See NIPSCO Blows Back at Wind Farm Complaints.)
FERC’s acceptance of the partial settlement also closes out Meadow Lake and Fowler Ridge’s request for rehearing in E.ON’s complaint (EL14-66-002).