Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power is seeking approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to raise its electric rates by nearly 20 percent by 2019. The rate increase is part of the utility’s Building the Future proposal, which seeks to reduce power outages through system improvements.
I&M is looking to replace about 1,400 poles, more than 20 miles of overhead lines and more than 12 miles of underground lines. The utility says the Building the Future proposal will also accelerate trimming or clearing of trees and other vegetation, which it says is the number one source of customer outages.
"I&M’s plan prepares the company for a future of energy generation that is more diverse and will allow us to offer our customers new, cleaner energy options," said Toby Thomas, chief operating officer of I&M. "The plan will improve customers’ service through investments in infrastructure that will reduce outages and directly limit service interruptions caused by severe weather."
I&M says the new rates would be phased in over two years, beginning in summer 2018 and taking full effect in early 2019. The utility says the average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month would see an increase of less than $1 per day.
A timeframe for a ruling by the IURC was not given. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is expected to take public input on the rate increase proposal and offer its own recommendation.