Regulators Order Release of Duke Papers ; Utility Protests, State Discounts Disclosure of Trade Secrets

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INDIANAPOLIS - Utility regulators have ordered Duke Energy Corp. to publicly release nearly 100 confi-dential documents related to the construction of its troubled coal-gasification plant in Southwestern Indiana. Duke has argued that the documents and hundreds of others contain valuable trade secrets. But The Indianapolis Star reports that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission said many of the emails and reports contain only general communications between Duke and its contractors and are not protected from disclosure.

"The evidence fails to indicate how competitors... could gain any value from this information," the commission wrote Wednesday.

The documents include correspondence between Duke and its contractors over who was responsible for engineering and construction problems that have caused $1.3 billion worth of cost overruns at the company's $3.3 billion Edwardsport power plant.

Contractors have argued that Duke interfered in the building process, while Duke has argued that the contractors provided faulty information. The commission said it reviewed 328 confidential documents and determined that 85 and parts of 10 others should be made public.

Duke and its contractors have 30 days to appeal. Duke says it's reviewing the commission's order, but maintains that it has made the documents available to other parties in the case, including consumer groups. …


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