OUCC: Deal would reduce proposed I&M rate hike

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor announced Wednesday that a proposed settlement between Indiana Michigan Power, the OUCC, and other parties would lower the cost of an I&M requested rate increase.

The utility announced last July it was seeking an overall revenue increase of $263 million. The new deal, if approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, would give I&M an increase in revenue of $96.8 million, or 7.26 percent.

The OUCC said passage of federal tax cuts allowed I&M to seek a lower cost, plus find revenue through compromises with stakeholders regarding recovery costs.

The new proposal would put the monthly residential customer charge at $10.50. I&M previously sought a charge of $18.00. The current monthly charge per customer is $7.30.

The monthly increase for a typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours would be $9.41, or less than 32 cents per day, I&M said in a statement.

“I&M is committed to serving our customers in the ways they want to be served, and we are pleased to significantly limit the increase in our proposed rates for customers while still preserving our plans to reduce outages by enhancing infrastructure and to gain more flexibility in transitioning our generation sources to a more diverse energy mix,” said Toby Thomas, President and Chief Operating Officer of I&M. “We understand the impact of rates on our low-income customers, and I am pleased our revised plan includes additional assistance for them. To help build the communities we serve, the settlement also includes new economic development incentives.”

I&M will also create a $700,000 Economic Impact Grant. Shareholder funding will create up to $950,000 for new low-income assistance and weatherization programs. That fund would allow the utility to create a 2-year pilot program allocating up to $500,000 to help low-income customers catch up on their electric bill.

The settlement included a number of parties, including the city of Fort Wayne, Walmart, Kroger, and others.

If the IURC approves the settlement, rates would increase in July and be fully effective in early 2019.

Click here for additional information on the proposal through the OUCC’s website.