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Powering the Next in Reliability

I&M is strengthening the Indiana electric grid to reduce the number and duration of power outages for customers and the communities it serves. That’s why we are Powering the Next in reliability.

I&M maintains more than 15,000 miles of distribution power lines and 193 substations in Indiana. Much of the system was built in the 1960s and 1970s and continued investments are needed to replace aging infrastructure and provide safe, reliable service.

The settlement agreement preserves I&M’s plans to enhance reliability of service to our customers by updating and replacing aging infrastructure. The rate agreement will support I&M’s plans to continue strengthening the electric grid in Indiana to reduce the number and duration of power outages. Specific Indiana plans of this $350 million investment include:

  • Replacing more than 2,500 poles and replacing 120 miles of power lines.
  • Upgrading 16 substations.
  • Inspecting and maintaining vegetation along 4,000 line miles. Vegetation is the No. 1 cause of customer outages.

These enhancements will build on projects approved in previous I&M rate reviews, which have resulted in reduced vegetation-related and equipment-related outages.

Projects approved in previous rate reviews have resulted in improved Service Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) scores, which is how the energy industry measures the average length of outages, due to transmission, station, vegetation and equipment failures. From 2019 to the end of 2020, we saw an 18.6% overall reduction.

  • Equipment Failure SAIDI is at a 3-year low
  • Transmission SAIDI at is a 5-year low
  • Station SAIDI is at a 4-year low
  • Tree/Vegetation SAIDI is at a 5-year low
    • Our current 4-year tree trim cycle, approved in a prior rate review, is responsible for the substantial decrease in tree and vegetation outages.
      • There has been close to a 30% reduction in tree and vegetation-related SAIDI since the beginning of the trim cycle in 2017.
    • The pending proposal would build on this success by starting a new 4-year trim cycle in 2022.

Our reliability successes indicate that a continuation of these efforts will continue to improve service to our customers.

In addition to these upgrades, we plan to perform additional risk mitigation work, including:

  • Inspecting more than 30,000 wooden poles
  • Inspecting more than 2,400 miles of overhead power lines
  • Inspecting four downtown city underground networks (South Bend, Elkhart, Fort Wayne and Muncie)

We also continue to invest in our generation sources to ensure reliable energy for our customers.

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