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Upcoming public hearing scheduled to discuss I&M rate increases

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— Community activists are encouraging I&M customers to attend an upcoming public hearing on the proposed cost hike

The electric company has big plans to improve service but they want customers to pay for it. Some people worry paying higher electric bills will break the bank for some families.

“We’re looking at a rate increase that could be very impactful for the residents here in South Bend, says Mike Oles of Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light.

Oles and Kelly Beduhm of Indivisible Indiana District 2 went door to door in the northwest neighborhood over the weekend to encourage people to speak up against the increase.

“I think it’s important for people to know that their voice matters. What we want to do is get people to that hearing so that they can voice their opposition to this unwarranted increase,” says Beduhm.

In addition to an increase in service charges, Indiana Michigan Power’s proposal includes raising the monthly base fee from around $7 to $18.

According to the company, that investment would help to prevent future outages by funding technology updates and trimming trees around power lines.

As we reported in July, the 20% increase in service costs could add up to over $300 per year for some households.

If approved customers would start seeing higher bills next summer.

“We’re talking about a quarter of a billion dollars coming out of customers pockets to pay for their  bad business decisions. We’re talking about a huge rate increase for low income folks and those living on fixed incomes, our seniors, and our poorest of the poor are going to be expected to pay way more for our electricity,” says Oles.

The public hearing is scheduled for October 2 at 6 p.m. at the Century Center.

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