I&M Plans $478-M In Upgrades, Appeals to MPSC for $58.5-M Rate Increase

If a major new plan by I&M goes into effect, your monthly electric bill will be increasing one of these days.

Indiana Michigan Power has rolled out plans today for nearly half-a-billion dollars in infrastructure improvements at the Cook Nuclear Plant near Bridgman and across Michigan’s Great Southwest, while asking the Michigan Public Service Commission for approval of an overall rate increase of $58.5-million to help fund those improvements.

I&M says today they want to continue to enhance the infrastructure at the Cook Plant and across the region in plans submitted Monday to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

If authorized by the commission, the just under 19-percent increase would result in an additional $36-per month increase for the typical residential user.

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I&M’s Michigan Plan calls for $478-million in infrastructure improvements over 2019-2020 at Cook Nuclear Plant, which generates enough energy to power more than 1.5 million homes. With 1,200 full-time employees and a record of community involvement, Cook Plant has long been important to the economy of southwest Michigan while serving customers with emission-free energy 24/7/365.

The plan also incorporates the first two years of I&M’s five-year Distribution Reliability Plan, which is designed to ensure safe, reliable and accessible energy at reasonable rates. Over 2019 and 2020, I&M plans to replace more than 1,200 poles, 40 miles of wires and other equipment as it nears expected lifespans. At the same time, I&M’s Michigan Plan details steps to modernize and strengthen the energy grid with more high-tech equipment to reduce the number, extent and duration of power outages.

Toby Thomas is President & Chief Operating Officer at I&M. He says, “The Cook Nuclear Plant is vital to I&M’s generation system and is a major driver of the southwest Michigan economy – largely because of well-planned, cost-effective investments and thorough, efficient maintenance and operations.”

Thomas says, “In addition to supporting Cook Plant, I&M’s Michigan Plan will boost our reliability infrastructure by proactively updating poles and wires while adding more high-tech equipment to power lines, substations and homes,” and notes, “I&M’s Michigan Plan takes another big step toward better serving our customers and meeting their energy needs.”

I&M’s Michigan Plan includes:

  • Addressing the No. 1 cause of customer outages by continued, systematic tree trimming, including trimming along more than 1,000 line miles in 2019-2020.
  • Developing a stronger, smarter grid by investing in advanced technological equipment that enhances reliability by automatically detecting and addressing possible system problems.
  • Providing customers with new smart meters that will reduce outage times and empower customers with more information about their energy use.
  • Giving most Michigan residential and small commercial customers an option for having a flat monthly bill that remains unchanged over 12 months, with no requirement for a year-end settling-up adjustment.
  • Eliminating the service charge for income-qualified customers while encouraging energy efficiency measures to reduce energy use.
  • Moving 24 miles of lines now in problematic, hard-to-reach – sometimes swampy – areas.
  • Adding more ways to support electric car charging, which benefits the electric grid and all customers. The Michigan Plan adds to existing incentives for residential electric car charging by including programs for businesses and apartment buildings.
  • Helping southwest Michigan communities by enhancing job opportunities through reimbursing employers for qualifying apprenticeships and training.
  • Creating a new Building Development Program to help construct spec buildings that are important for job-creators seeking quickly available locations.

To support those and other elements of the Michigan Plan, I&M has asked the MPSC to review its base rates. The overall increase would be about $58.5 million, or 18.91-percent. The monthly increase for a typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of energy per month would be $36. The new monthly amount includes a residential service charge of $10 to update the true costs associated with providing meter reading, billing and collection and other customer-related services.

The Michigan Public Service Commission will review I&M’s proposal using a transparent process that offers opportunity for public review and input. Customers can learn more about I&M’s Michigan Plan and the regulatory rate review process by clicking the link below:

http://www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/MichiganPlan 

I&M is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,370 employees serve more than 597,000 customers. More than half of its generation is emission-free, including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,600 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.