WBEZ | NIPSCO http://www.wbez.org/tags/nipsco Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Copper thieves knock out power in Gary http://www.wbez.org/story/copper-thieves-knock-out-power-gary-91490 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-02/power lines.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Construction sites and home air conditioning units are the usual targets for copper thieves and, over the past few years, the problem’s grown nationally.</p><p>Copper is selling for about $4 a pound at scrap yards in Northwest Indiana, so a few dozen pounds could net some chump change.&nbsp;But some thieves, it seems, want more than that, and they’re willing to risk life and limb to grab hundreds of pounds of the metal.</p><p>This week alone a thief -- or thieves -- stole more than 2,300 feet of copper wiring from utility poles near downtown Gary. That’s about 600 pounds worth.</p><p>The thefts, 16 in all, started Sunday and have continued through Thursday evening, said Nick Meyer, spokesman for Northern Indiana Public Service Company.</p><p>He said thieves are climbing 20- to 30-foot utility poles to get at the copper.</p><p>“Very, very risky behavior on the part of a few select individuals,” Meyer said. “Individuals are climbing the wooden electric utility poles and actually going to the top of them and actually cutting live electrical lines, which, as you can imagine, is not a smart thing to do.”</p><p>Meyer says NIPSCO isn’t just worried about the cost to replace the wiring. He says, sure, it costs the company money in manpower and product, but safety is the main issue.</p><p>“To the company, it’s not a large expense. What it comes down to is an issue of customer safety. Some of these instances are happening in neighborhoods. There are families, children in the area,” Meyer said. “It causes more of a concern than just actual monetary dollars.”</p><p>The other issue is one of inconvenience to customers, especially on hot-weather days such as Friday, which saw temps spike above 90 degrees in Northwest Indiana.</p><p>“It’s not only an inconvenience to those without air conditioning but for seniors living in the area or people relying on medical equipment,” Meyer said.</p><p>Meyer said Gary police are investigating the thefts. An alert has also been put out to local scrap yards to look for people coming in soon to cash-in on large quantities of copper.</p><p>Meyer said whomever gets caught could be charged with a federal offense. He says cutting live electric lines is against federal law because it disrupts the distribution of electricity across state lines.</p><p>Copper thefts have been reported from the East Coast to California, causing millions in repairs and security.</p><p>The FBI now considers copper thefts to be a threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 20:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/copper-thieves-knock-out-power-gary-91490 Nuclear power bill on hold in Indiana http://www.wbez.org/story/david-long/nuclear-power-bill-hold-indiana <p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->An initiative in Indiana to provide incentives for companies to invest in clean energy, including nuclear power, is stalling because of recent events in Japan.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The incentives could have lead to the building of Indiana&rsquo;s first nuclear power plant.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But any such plans may have to wait.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Indiana Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says his state will need additional sources of energy in the coming years.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But Long says the earthquake in Japan that caused extensive damage to a nuclear plant there is forcing more review of Senate Bill 251.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;We need to take a step back, try to understand how this happened, what the circumstances were, was it human error, was it all caused by the natural disaster? If so, what part of it, was it the tsunami, was it the earthquake,&rdquo; Long says. &ldquo;We don't have the answers to that right now, and we need to have some answers.&rdquo;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Past nuclear attempts in Indiana included the building of a nuclear power plant in Porter County.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) proposed building the Bailly Nuclear 1 Power Plant in the 1970s and 1980s along Lake Michigan.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But opponents and the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island forced NIPSCO to scrap its plans just two years later.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Indiana continues to need additional sources of energy since a study group told state legislators that the state will likely need 30 percent more electricity by 2015.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">This at a time when the Obama administration plans to clamp down on coal-fired power plants to reduce pollution.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Indiana gets most of its energy from coal.</p></p> Tue, 15 Mar 2011 21:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/david-long/nuclear-power-bill-hold-indiana Indiana utility agrees to curb pollution http://www.wbez.org/story/scitech/energy/indiana-utility-agrees-curb-pollution <p><p>Northern Indiana Public Service Company will be required to invest $600-million to control pollution as a result of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.</p><p>According to the settlement, NIPSCO, based in Merrillville, violated the Clean Air Act when it failed to obtain permits before it altered four coal-fired power plants in the 1980s and 1990s. Moreover, the installed equipment may not have been state-of-the-art at the time it was installed. That is considered a violation of the act&rsquo;s so-called &ldquo;new source review&rdquo; provisions.</p><p>NIPSCO has agreed to invest in pollution control technology at plants in Michigan City, Chesterton and Wheatfield. A fourth plant in Gary, called the Dean Mitchell Generating Station, will be permanently shuttered.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s been closed since 2002, although there have been efforts to restart it to produce more electricity.</p><p>The EPA says the settlement will improve the health of residents in Northwest Indiana and surrounding areas by substantially cutting emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and carbon dioxide.</p><p>Apart from the pollution control investments, the settlement requires NIPSCO to spend $9.5 million on environmental mitigation projects and pay a civil penalty of $3.5 million.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>NIPSCO is the second largest electric distribution company in Indiana, supplying power to about one-third of the state.&nbsp; A company spokesman said many of the settlement provisions are already completed or are in the works.</p><p>A federal judge must still approve the settlement. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 14 Jan 2011 00:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/scitech/energy/indiana-utility-agrees-curb-pollution