I&M Launches Innovate Indiana, Seeks Rate Hike

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(photo courtesy of Indiana Michigan Power) (photo courtesy of Indiana Michigan Power)
FORT WAYNE -

Indiana Michigan Power has launched its Innovate Indiana program, which it submitted this week to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The utility says the proposal includes more than $600 million annually for infrastructure improvements, which would be funded by a three-phase rate increase.

The plan aims to improve the energy infrastructure by strengthening the energy grid with better technology and equipment in an effort to combat power outages. 

 Key components of the plan include:

• Incentives to support the use of electric vehicles
• Supporting job opportunities by reimbursing employers for qualifying apprenticeships and training
 • A  Building Development Program creating a fund to help construct spec buildings that are important for job-creators 
 • Programs to assist low-income customers experiencing hardship paying their utility bills

 “Technology offers I&M a number of ways to improve the reliability and value of service to our customers,” said Toby Thomas, president and chief operating officer of I&M, in a news release. “From high-tech equipment on power lines and substations to availability of electric car charging to further diversifying the sources of energy, Innovate Indiana helps I&M take another big step toward better serving our customers and meeting their energy needs. I&M will also continue its commitment to customers by continuously focusing on greater efficiency and controlling costs.”

To fund the plan, the utility is requesting a rate increase to occur in phases beginning in spring 2020. After it takes full effect, I&M says the average residential customer would see a monthly increase of $21.11.

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