I&M planning $478 million in improvements to Michigan nuclear plant

BRIDGMAN, Mich. — Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power is planning $478 million in improvements at Cook Nuclear Plant in southwestern Michigan and is asking for higher rates to help pay for it.

The utility says the work at the plant along Lake Michigan would take place in 2019-2020 and on Monday submitted its plans to the Michigan Public Service Commission for review. The “Michigan Plan ” would also update poles and wires; add more new equipment to lines, substations and homes; and trim trees.

The utility is asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to review base rates for an overall increase of about $58.5 million, or nearly 19 percent. The company says the monthly increase for a typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of energy per month would be $36.

In May I&M announced its “Innovate Indiana” plan that includes more than $600 million in annual infrastructure improvements and a proposed 11.75 percent rate increase. The plan would also support continued operations at Cook.

The Innovate Indiana plan calls for new rates to be phased-in over three steps, with the first occurring in spring 2020, the second on June 1, 2020 and the third in early 2021. After it takes full effect, the monthly increase would be $21.11 for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month.