News release from Indiana Michigan Power:
I&M plans significant infrastructure enhancement program
(October 14, 2014) – Indiana Michigan Power plans to significantly enhance our infrastructure system that serves over 458,000 customers in Indiana and help grow the economies of the communities we serve with a comprehensive, seven-year infrastructure project.
As proposed, I&M’s Reliability Enhancement Program would include:
- Replacement of hundreds of miles of electric cable.
- Replacement of thousands of poles.
- Substantial improvement of metropolitan underground networks in South Bend, FortÂ Wayne, Elkhart and Muncie.
- An improved line clearance plan to help reduce power outages caused by trees andÂ branches.
- Technology investments that will reduce the number of outages and speed restorationÂ times.
- Important new substations in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Muncie.
The company is seeking regulatory approval to invest approximately $787 million in its Indiana infrastructure over the seven-year period beginning in 2015.
“I&M exhaustively examined our entire system to determine where replacing and updating our aging infrastructure would best enhance our ability to continue to provide reliable, affordable energy to our valued customers,” said Paul Chodak III, I&M’s President and Chief Operating Officer.
“Enhanced reliability is important not only to our existing customers but for the economic development of our communities. The availability of affordable, reliable power is key to keeping existing businesses and attracting new ones,” he said.
“I&M’s Reliability Enhancement Program will not only improve reliability in the near term, but also result in a better infrastructure that will well-serve our customers for decades.”
I&M employees and contractors will replace poles, wires and other infrastructure that in many cases is decades old with modern, state-of-the art equipment. In addition to the overhead lines our customers see every day, crews will also reinforce reliability in our underground metropolitan networks with updated wiring and configurations.
New substations will reinforce the electric grid in I&M’s service areas and directly serve both planned and future economic development projects:
- Oliver Plow substation in South Bend will primarily serve the Notre DameÂ Turbomachinery Facility, which is planned to open in 2016 and will be the nation’sÂ foremost research and test facility for large gas turbine engines.
- Kenmore substation in Muncie replaces a decades-old substation near Ball StateÂ University with state-of-the-art technology capable of sustaining existing and futureÂ demand in the area.
- Aviation substation off Ardmore Avenue in Fort Wayne will help ensure a reliable energyÂ supply for the new BAE Systems facility as well as serve future growth in the WaynedaleÂ and Fort Wayne International Airport area.
- Melita substation just south of downtown Fort Wayne will replace an aging substationÂ that has decades-old equipment with a modern station that will strengthen the reliabilityÂ for downtown service and accommodate future downtown growth.
Both the Oliver Plow and Melita substations will make productive use of brownfield sites unsuitable for residential housing.
If approved as filed, I&M’s Reliability Enhancement Program will strengthen reliability while impacting customers’ bills modestly, by a little less than 1 percent per year on average.
I&M’s filing with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission falls under Senate Enrolled Act 560 from the 2013 Indiana Legislative Session, which allows utilities to plan and finance significant infrastructure improvements over seven years and to lessen the impact on customers through smaller, annual rate increases for necessary infrastructure enhancements.
About Indiana Michigan Power
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,500 employees serve more than 582,000 customers. It operates 3,595 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,110 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states. The company also provides its customers 250 MW of purchased wind generation.
I&M is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
News releases and other information about I&M is available at IndianaMichiganPower.com.