The City of South Bend has helped construct a settlement with Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) regarding I&M’s request to raise electricity rates for South Bend and other Indiana customers. The settlement was filed today with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). If approved by the IURC, the settlement will protect South Bend residents from a sharp increase in electricity bills.
The settlement limits I&M’s total rate revenue increase to about 7.3%, compared to the proposed increase of about 19.7%. In addition, residential customers would see an increase of $3.20 in their monthly fixed charge, significantly less than the increase of $10.70 originally requested by I&M. The settlement also includes new programs and policies to assist low-income customers.
“The settlement South Bend and its fellow interveners negotiated goes a long way to protect South Bend residents, particularly our most vulnerable families, from an otherwise dramatic increase in their electricity bills,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “Our intervention in the I&M case also sought to plant a flag on climate concerns and ask the utility to be part of the solution.”
“In addition to keeping costs low, this settlement would create opportunities for additional benefits for the people of South Bend. Settlement terms open the door to additional collaboration between the City I&M in areas of energy data management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric vehicles,” said South Bend Director of Sustainability Therese Dorau.
In November 2017, the City of South Bend submitted testimony to the IURC voicing concerns that the proposed rate increase would strain municipal and household budgets and that the proposed increase in the monthly customer fixed charge would discourage energy efficiency and disproportionately impact lower-income families. The City also emphasized that the utility should be more aggressive in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, supporting renewable energy, and planning for the impacts of climate change.
A hearing at the IURC to consider the settlement is currently scheduled for March 5, 2018.