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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 1:00 am

Agency to get public's view on I&M rate hike

Journal Gazette

Written comments

Consumers who want to submit written comments about the Indiana Michigan Power proposed rate hike can do so online at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm or by mail, email, or fax:

• Mail: Consumer Services Staff

Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN, 46204

• Email: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov

• Fax: 317-232-5923

Indiana Michigan Power's controversial proposal for a nearly 20 percent rate hike will get a public hearing next month in Fort Wayne, the state's utility consumer agency said Tuesday.

I&M announced plans in late July to seek the rate hike, which would occur in two phases, taking effect July 1, 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019. I&M has estimated its request would raise a monthly residential electric bill for 1,000 kilowatt hours from $125.88 to $151.16, if fully implemented.

The proposal includes increasing the flat, monthly residential customer charge from $7.30 to $18, an Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor news release said. The flat, monthly service charge for most small-business customers would rise from $9.70 to $19. The “energy charge,” or the part of the base rate that varies by usage, would also rise.

I&M provides electric service to about 458,000 customers in 24 Indiana counties. 

The full increase would generate an additional $263.2 million in overall annual operating revenue, a 19.7 percent increase. The revenue would help pay for several capital improvements and cover higher operating and maintenance costs, the utility has said.

The Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, which represents the public interest in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, is reviewing the request. The agency is expected to file testimony in the case Nov. 7 and is seeking, along with its legal and technical review, written comment from residential, industrial and commercial users through Nov. 2, according to a news release.

The 6 p.m. Oct. 10 hearing will be in Ballroom A at Grand Wayne Convention Center. Consumers are asked to arrive by 5:45 p.m. for an overview of hearing procedures.

Public hearings are also being held in South Bend and Muncie before the Nov. 7 filing.

Several parties have intervened in the rate hike case and are also scheduled to file testimony Nov. 7, the news release said. They include the Kroger Co., Wal-Mart Stores East LP, Sam's East Inc., the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, the city of Fort Wayne and several industrial customers including General Motors, which has an Allen County truck assembly plant, and Marathon Petroleum Co.