Indiana regulators approve settlement cutting I&M electric rates

State regulators have approved a settlement with Indiana Michigan Power under which the utility will cut its Indiana residential customers’ base electric rates nearly 6% by next year.

The $94.7 million rate reduction announced Wednesday by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will come in two phases, with the first phase immediately cutting bills about $1.48 a month for average residents using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity

The second phase, set to take effect next January, will cut those bills by about $7.95 a month.

Fort Wayne-based I&M had requested a $104 million rate increase, but the state’s consumer advocate for utilities said the utility should seek a rate cut instead, The Journal Gazette reported.

I&M had asked for the residential customer charge to increase to $20, but it will remain at $15 under the settlement, which the IURC’s order calls “a just and reasonable resolution of the issues.”

The settlement was approved by I&M Industrial Group, the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, the Kroger Co., Walmart Inc., numerous municipalities and the Wabash Valley Power Association.

I&M agreed in the settlement to remove about $141 million from its base rate that was required for the costs of a southern Indiana power plant, the utility regulatory commission said.

Specific customer rates will be set when I&M files new customer tariffs with the IURC within the next 30 days.

I&M services 30 counties and 162 cities in northeast and and north central Indiana and southwest Michigan.

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