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IPL gets OK for major overhaul of electric grid

The question: What will it end up costing users?
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Posted at 4:52 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 16:52:10-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Power and Light Company's $1.2 billion plan to modernize its electric grid won approval Wednesday from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

For most IPL customers, the top question is: How much more will I have to pay each month for electricity?

That question won't be answered for awhile, probably early July. That's when IPL plans to file its "initial cost recovery request" with the IURC.

But we got a hint at what could be in store last year when the electric company first made it plans known and held public hearings. At that time, IPL was looking at rate hikes of between 0.8 and 1.3 percent each year until 2026.

According to IPL President and CEO Vince Parisi, the utility plans to upgrade and replace aging equipment. Improvements would include:

  • Self-healing electric grid. This would allow IPL to better figure out where problems are and re-route power around the problem, resulting in fewer and shorter outages.
  • "Smart" AMI meters. These would let the company automatically know when power goes out and how long it will take to make repairs.
  • Equipment replacement: Transformers, breakers, batteries and other aging equipment at substations would be replaced.

"We are pleased with the IURC's order because it allows us to modernize our electric system to continue meeting the rapidly changing needs of our customers throughout the Indianapolis area," said Parisi.

Hundreds of IPL workers will be involved in the upgrades. IPL customers should expect to see crews all over the Indianapolis area in coming years replacing equipment.