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Dozens speak up to oppose I&M rate hike

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): A public input session held by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in Fort Wayne last night had a mostly packed house, but everyone who stepped up to the microphone had the same opinion: they’re against a proposed rate hike of nearly 20% by Indiana Michigan Power.

About 70 people testified at the hearing, including Ahnee Conner, who tells our Partners in News at ABC 21 it would hurt people like her that are living on fixed incomes.

“In the coldest parts of the winter, my bill can be $600 or more a month,” Conner says. “I&M is a monopoly. We don’t have a choice, we can’t say we’ll shop somewhere else.”

Company President Toby Thomas tells WOWO News why they’re pushing for such a bump:

“It’s really related, in a large way, to investing in infrastructure, so we can deliver reliable and safe electricity to our customers for years to come.”

The increase, if approved, would net the utility an extra $263-million a year.

Others at the meeting pointed out that some of those upgrades the utility are seeking include “smart meters,” presumably to replace existing meters installed just five years ago.

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