Duke Reboots Major Overhaul Plans
Plainfield-based Duke Energy Indiana has detailed a revised and scaled-back proposal to significantly overhaul its aging electric grid within the next decade. The $1.83 billion plan is around $700 million less than a previous one rejected in May by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The company has over 800,000 customers in the state. Duke Energy Indiana says over the course of seven years, the project would create more than 5,000 jobs.
Duke Energy, which says it is the state’s largest energy supplier, also estimates the project would have a $180 million tax benefit for the state and local communities.
The upgrades include "self-healing" grid technology, which Duke Energy says would lead to fewer and shorter power outages. The utility says the work will also help boost reliability and safety. It involves replacing aging components within the grid like substations, utility poles, power lines and transformers. Plans also call for advanced meters that can be read remotely and will provide the utility an opportunity for quicker fixes.
Duke Energy Indiana President Melody Birmingham-Byrd says this plan is different than the one first proposed in August 2014. "We’ve responded to the commission’s guidance and issues raised in its May order. The revised plan is more detailed and focuses on projects that improve the reliability of our service while modernizing our aging infrastructure."
Duke Energy would increase rates by an average of 1 percent between 2017 and 2022 if plans are approved. The company expects a final regulatory decision in the middle of next year.
Spokeswoman Angeline Protogere tells Inside INdiana Business the investment is wide-ranging.