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Indianapolis Power & Light looking to build coal inventory at Petersburg plant


Filing says utility is experiencing logistical challenges, does not identify them

Stockpiles said to be in range of 25-50 days

Louisville, Kentucky — Indianapolis Power & Light is trying to build up the coal inventory at its 1,700-MW Petersburg station in Pike County, Indiana, but is encountering some transportation challenges, according to a regulatory filing.

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Expert witnesses for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumers Counsel, the state's consumer watchdog, discussed the AES Corp.'s coal-fired plant status in a filing with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission late last week.

Greg Guerrettaz, an accountant, said IP&L's existing coal stockpile at Petersburg is in the range of 25 to 50 days.

The utility, he said, "is trying to build supply to prepare for inclement weather," adding, however, it is facing "several challenges with available transportation" that have slowed progress.

Guerrettaz did not detail the challenges and IP&L officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

This winter has been colder than normal in the Indianapolis area, with forecasts of the coldest weather of the year this weekend.

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Meanwhile, Michael Eckert, assistant director of the OUCC's electric division, said the about 670-MW Petersburg-3 unit is scheduled to restart commercial operations by the end of January. The unit has been on an extended outage for repairs since September 15.

IP&L has performed a "root cause" analysis of what caused the outage, and the information is expected to be available soon, Eckert said.

Petersburg's four coal units came online between 1967 and 1986. The plant burns in excess of 4 million st of Illinois Basin coal from mines in the surrounding region.

Petersburg is IP&L's only remaining coal-fired plant after it retired the 341-MW Eagle Valley station near Martinsville, Indiana, and converted the 700-MW Harding Street plant in downtown Indianapolis to natural gas several years ago.

At this time, IP&L/AES say they have no plans to shutter Petersburg or switch it to gas.

-- Bob Matyi,

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,