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Utility consumer advocate recommends cuts in I&M plan

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) – The state’s utility consumer advocate is recommending the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission deny some parts of Indiana Michigan Power’s proposal to spend $787 million to overhaul its electrical distribution system.

The Journal Gazette reports the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is recommending the Fort Wayne-based utility cut about $200 million from the seven-year improvement plan’s cost. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission needs to approve the plan.

The Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says the plan lacks specific details and that I&M’s vegetation management costs are outside the scope of the state’s infrastructure statute.

In a statement Wednesday, I&M said it will file a rebuttal. It also said it is glad the utility consumer counselor recognizes its plan as valid.