I&M seeks 19.7 percent rate jump, increase in minimum customer charge

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana Michigan Power is asking for a 19.7 percent rate increase.

The company announced the proposal Wednesday and will now seek approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The increase comes under I&M’s “Building the Future” initiative.

If approved, the rate increase would be phased in over two years. The first increase would occur in the summer of 2018 and the full rate would go into affect in early 2019. I&M says a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month would see an increase of less than $1 per day.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration the average Indiana household averaged 964 kilowatt hours per month in 2015.

“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. The plan will improve customers’ service through investments in infrastructure that will reduce outages and directly limit service interruptions caused by severe weather,” said Toby Thomas, President and Chief Operating Officer of I&M. “We intend to better serve our communities by renovating aging equipment, modernizing the delivery system with new technology and improving the reliability of service while being mindful of the cost impacts on our customers.”

The Building the Future program would also allow the utility to create a systematic, four-year tree trimming program. I&M says the number one source of customer outages is trees and other vegetation.

If approved, the rate increase would give I&M an additional $263 million a year in revenue.

I&M asked for a rate increase in 2011 but was only awarded about half of its proposal by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Also, I&M wants to increase the minimum customer charge, also called a fixed charge. That increase would go from $7.30 to $18. The minimum charge increase would be on top of the base rate increase.

Hearings have not yet been scheduled with the IURC.