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I&M Power still seeking rate increase despite public opposition

I&M Power is seeking a rate increase to $17.50 a month.
Justin Hicks, IPB News
I&M Power is seeking a rate increase to $17.50 a month.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission held a public meeting in Fort Wayne on Monday to hear comments from Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) customers about proposed rate increases.

 I-and-M is seeking a two-phase increase that would raise monthly residential service charges from 14 dollars and 79 cents to 17 dollars and 50 cents. Comments from the public were nearly unanimous in their opposition to the increase.

 Junius Pressey spoke on the record about his struggle to pay utility bills, a sentiment repeated by several other speakers. Pressey says he’s been an I-and-M customer for 37 years.

“And for the first time in my life, I’m finding that it is becoming extremely difficult to pay these outrageous utility bills in my retirement and senior years," Pressey said.

I-and-M says the plan will benefit customers by “improving reliability,” giving more bill payment options, and by pursuing federal grants to reduce costs.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor represents ratepayers in cases like these. The OUCC must take a formal position on the rate increase by November 15. They are accepting public comment until November 8.

The I-U-R-C will hold another public meeting on October 30 in South Bend.

Ella Abbott