- Associated Press - Monday, February 17, 2014

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) - State regulators have approved Northern Indiana Public Service Co.’s plan to spend more than $1 billion over the next seven years to modernize much of its electrical network.

The Merrillville-based utility estimates rates for its 457,000 electricity customers will rise 0.5 percent in 2015 and then about 1 percent per year through 2020 under the plan approved Monday by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Those increases will cover 80 percent of the cost of the improvements under a state law approved last year that allows utilities to add surcharges to utility bills for basic infrastructure improvements.

The (Munster) Times reports (bit.ly/1fbG05R) the upgrades include the replacement of 450 miles of underground electric cable, rebuilding 500 miles of electric circuits, and replacing 75 substation transformers.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com