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MPSC to host hearing on I&M's Michigan Plan Monday

NOW: MPSC to host hearing on I&M’s Michigan Plan Monday

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- The Michigan Public Service Commission is set to hold a hearing Monday to discuss Indiana Michigan Power’s Michigan Plan. 

MPSC chairman Sally Talberg says it’s a chance for I&M customers to hear how the proposal will impact their service in southwest Michigan. 

I&M announced the plan in June and submitted it to MPSC in August. 

The plan is pending approval from MPSC. 

I&M says the Michigan Plan helps them build a stronger, cleaner energy grid. 

If approved, I&M would make $478 million in improvements to the Cook Nuclear Plant. They would also replace more than 1,200 poles, 40 miles of wire and other equipment. Customers would be given new smart meters and other options to help manage their account like offering a flat rate for 12 months. 

To help pay for the plan, I&M has asked MPSC to increase its base electric rates by 18.91 percent. I&M would also increase their month service charge from $7.25 to $10 per month. 

For a homeowner who uses 1,000 kilowatts per month, I&M says that’s an extra $36 a month. The new monthly service charge is included in that figure. 

“I&M’s Michigan Plan takes another big step toward better serving our customers and meeting their energy needs,” said I&M President and COO Toby Thomas. 

Niles homeowner John Chew says his electric bill is between $50-80 each month. He says that’s expensive enough and does not want to pay more. 

“I could handle it [but] still, don’t want to,” said Chew. “I’m not sure why they need that much money. You’re talking $30 a household here, $36, and you got a lot of households right on this street here and it seems a little bit high.” 

Nancy Lamore, who lives near Chew, agrees. 

Lamore says she and her retired husband can’t pay anymore than the $143 they say they spend on their electric bill each month. She’s frustrated by the proposed rate increase. 

“That’s a lot of money out of pocket all of a sudden,” said Lamore. “That’s the cost of maybe one cell phone line or part of the cost for paying for internet. You know, we keep cutting things down but then people all of a sudden, everytime we make a cut, someone jumps us up another $36, $40.”

Monday’s hearing hosted by MPSC is from 5-7 p.m. at Blue Lecture Hall at Lake Michigan College 

Comments can also be mailed to the MPSC’s executive secretary at P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909 or emailed to mpscedockets@michigan.gov. MPSC asks that the case number (U-20591) is included in the correspondence. 

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