Indiana Michigan Power's $49 million electric rate increase approved
The Commission said replacing infrastructure and adopting advanced technology will ensure the utility's distribution system is resilient
The Michigan Public Service Commission approved an electric rate increase for Indiana Michigan Power Co. (I&M) of just over $49 million effective April 26. It’s the utility’s first electrical rate increase in more than six years.
The total is about 20 percent less than the $61.4 million increase in requested revenue requirement the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based company sought on May 15, 2017 (Case No. U-18370). This approval means the average residential customer who uses 500 kWh of electricity a month will see an $11.77 increase in their monthly bills, or 17.9 percent.
“A safe, reliable electric grid is important to serving customers in Michigan, so the Commission is not only approving short-term upgrades, but also ordering I&M to file a long-term distribution plan that will help it and the MPSC to develop a rigorous plan to address aging infrastructure,” said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC.
The Commission said replacing infrastructure and adopting advanced technology will ensure the utility’s distribution system is resilient. I&M is required to file in Case No. U-20147 its five-year distribution plan highlighting needed work to maintain its electrical system.
I&M said infrastructure improvement programs – replacing components, and work on overhead wires, poles, and underground residential cable -- will reduce equipment-related power outages. The utility also proposed implementing technology to help restore customers in a power outage.
The Commission approved funding for cybersecurity but urged the company to prove to the Commission that projects are completed on time. I&M also noted that federal rules require it to make sure digital systems at its Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman are safe from cyberattacks.
I&M last was allowed to raise rates in February 2012 (Case No. U-16801) by $14.6 million. Today’s $49,118,000 rate approval is 17.05 percent higher than rates set in the 2012 case.
The Commission decided to study the impact of the federal tax law changes in a separate proceeding (Case No. U-18494). I&M must file a Credit A application in Case No. U-20107 within 30 days of today’s order.
I&M serves about 128,000 customers in Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, and Allegan counties in southwest Michigan.