- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - A utility that provides electricity for more than 582,000 homes and businesses in Indiana and Michigan has begun a $500 million project to improve infrastructure over the next eight years, including transmission systems that are 40 to 60 years old.

The Indiana Michigan Power project involves strengthening and rebuilding power lines, installing new transmission lines, building and upgrading substations and updating equipment, spokeswoman Sarah Bodner told The Journal Gazette (http://bit.ly/1jfpwge ). The average customer paying about $100 a month for electricity will see less than a $1 increase on monthly electric bills, she said.

“Upgrading our transmission system is essential to ensure that we will continue to provide reliable power to households, businesses and industries in our area,” Paul Chodak, I&M; president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Plants in the Roanoke, Auburn, Monroeville and Decatur areas are scheduled for improvements. The work is part of a larger project by American Electric Power, the utility’s parent firm that has 5 million customers in 11 states.

Company spokesman Tracy Warner says the project needs Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approval only to charge customers for its costs.

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net

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