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Coal-gasification plant to cost consumers $1B

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INDIANAPOLIS — A utility opposing a proposed southern Indiana coal-gasification plan says a deal obligating Indiana natural gas customers to pay for its energy would add $1.1 billion to utility bills over eight years. That’s an average of $375 per residential customer.

Vectren Corp. estimates all residential gas customers would see their gas bills increase an average of about $3.90 per month during the period.

A spokesman for developer Leucadia National Corp. called Vectren’s estimates “absurd.” Gov. Mitch Daniels said through a spokeswoman he continues to support the project.

Independent energy industry analysts agreed with Vectren that Indiana ratepayers will likely subsidize the Rockport plant for five to 10 years.

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