The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has approved a settlement regarding Plainfield-based Duke Energy Indiana’s proposed statewide infrastructure improvement plan. The seven-year, $1.4 billion project will result in customers seeing an average rate increase of 0.75 percent each year through 2022.
Duke reached a settlement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and other key consumer groups in March. The deal included a $400 million reduction in Duke’s original proposal, which included the utility abandoning its $192 million plan for advanced digital meters, or smart meters, for customers.
"We have an aging energy grid — some equipment that is decades old — and our work will focus on replacing some older infrastructure to reduce power outages," said Duke Energy Indiana President Melody Birmingham-Byrd. "We’ll also be building a smarter energy structure with technology to provide the type of information and services that consumers have come to expect."
The utility says when completed, consumers will see many benefits including improved energy reliability and safety, fewer and shorter power outages where "self-healing systems" are installed and energy savings.
Duke Energy could also pursue the installation of smart meters in the future and is exploring possible pilot programs for the digital technology. The utility says about 40 percent of the country has transitioned to smart meter technology.