Indiana Michigan Power Co. is seeking state approval to install solar panels like these on 200 acres of farm land southeast of Bittersweet Road and the Indiana Toll Road in Granger. Provided photo
Indiana Michigan Power Co. is seeking state approval to install solar panels like these on 200 acres of farm land southeast of Bittersweet Road and the Indiana Toll Road in Granger. Provided photo
GRANGER — Indiana Michigan Power Co. plans to build a $37 million solar farm southeast of Bittersweet Road and the Indiana Toll Road, its largest in Indiana, and it will seek state approval of another rate increase to help pay for it, according to records the utility has filed with regulators.

Fort Wayne-based I&M, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, has petitioned the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to recover the project’s costs through a base rate increase it filed May 14. If the IURC won’t allow that, I&M will try to recoup the costs by increasing monthly bills in another way, through a “solar power rider,” according to I&M’s filings with the IURC.

Last month’s base rate increase request came a year after I&M won approval of a $93 million revenue increase in May 2018, hiking a monthly 1,000-kWh bill from $126 to $141. The utility in September 2017 initially had requested a $263 million increase, which would have increased such a bill to $151.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the state agency that advocates for consumers in regulated utility cases, has started its technical and legal reviews of both new cases but has not yet determined how the proposals would affect monthly bills if approved, said OUCC spokesman Anthony Swinger.

I&M plans to start building the solar farm in May and have it operational by the end of next year. Some homeowners in Prairie Lane subdivision, whose Campfire Drive backyards overlook the Toll Road and the site, expressed mixed views on the project Monday. None said they would mind having the solar panels nearby.
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