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2/4/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Rate case corrections favor utility's argument against NS, STB says


On Feb. 4, the Surface Transportation Board announced it corrected computational and technical errors discovered in its November 2003 Duke Energy Corp. vs. Norfolk Southern Railway decision.

Although the board originally determined NS' rates are reasonable, the corrections enable the utility to prove the railroad's rates are unreasonable, said STB Chairman Roger Nober in a prepared statement.

Duke Energy and NS already petitioned STB to reconsider parts of its decision, so the board will not prescribe a reasonable rate until after it considers those petitions, said Nober.

After reviewing the corrections, NS officials estimated that any required reduction to the challenged rates would be less than 2 percent.

"The STB previously upheld these rates as reasonable," NS officials said. "[But the board] has continued to stay its decision and has not yet quantified nor ordered any rate relief."


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