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I&M proposes 11.75% rate hike, installing smart meters

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana Michigan Power has submitted a proposal asking for a 11.75% rate increase. 

The Innovate Indiana plan was submitted to the Indiana Regulatory Commission on Tuesday. 

(In the WISH-TV viewing area, I&M serves customers in Delaware, Blackford, Grant, Howard, Jay, Madison, Miami, Randolph, Tipton and Wabash counties.)

According to I&M, the plan would aim to:

  • Build a smarter grid by incorporating smart meters at every home.
  • Empower customers with smart meters to monitor and control energy use.
  • Create incentives for electric vehicles.

If approved, it would be implemented in three step increases. The first would be in the spring of 2020, then June 1, and finally early 2021. 

Once fully in place, I&M says a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatts per month will see an increased cost of $21.11. 

According to I&M, the company would replace current customer meters with smart meters to better detect and respond to outages. The new meters would also alllow customers to montitor their energy use by the hour through a website or app. There is also a function for the meters to send customers alerts througout the month based on a set spending budget. Over 10,000 I&M customers currently have the meters. 

The plan also includes an incentive for charging electric vehicles. I&M says it would offer a $500 rebate to help cover the cost of charging equipment. There would also be a lower rate to charge vehicles overnight. 

An increase in monthy service costs was also proposed, raising the charge from $10.50 to $15. I&M says the service cost increase is included in the new rates. 

I&M was approved for a 7% rate increase in March 2018 to improve aging poles and wires as well as maintain clearance between power lines and trees. 

The IURC will review I&M’s request and will offer an opportunity for public input.