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Michiana residents make voices heard on proposed Indiana-Michigan Power rate hike

(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

Some Michiana residents might be seeing a rate increase in their power bills soon, and some made their voices heard about it Monday night.

Indiana Michigan Power has proposed a rate hike that could result in a 20-percent increase in the bills. Dozens of Indiana Michigan Power customers attended a public hearing Monday night to sound off about the possibility of such a hike.

“This rate hike is on the backs of lower income people. They’re the ones that are going to be hurt the most,” said Pamela Claeys, who lives in South Bend.

“It’s a killer,” Clay Township resident Bruce Burkart told ABC 57. “I’m retired. I’m on social security now. You possibly get a 1 to 2% a year increase if you’re lucky. To say that they want to implement approximately a 20% increase over a two year period or a year and a half period is absurd.”

I & M President Toby Thomas tells ABC 57 News the rate increase is needed.

“We determine what’s needed to run the business and provide safe and reliable electricity and then we compare that to what we would have absent a rate review…a lot of it we’re dealing with aging infrastructure. Most of our equipment we have out there are many, many decades old,” said President and COO of I&M, Toby Thomas.

But that left some residents incredulous.

“We cannot reward I&M for sticking its head in the sand and refusing to innovate,” said customer Carmella Vizza.

The utility says any increase would be less than a dollar per day for customers that use 1000 kilowatt hours per month, and the rate increase would happen in two phases next July and in January of 2019.

State regulators will likely decide on whether the increase can go through in early November.

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