NewsPublic AffairsTechnology & Science / August 29, 2014

Duke Energy Customers Could Pay More for Electric Grid Upgrade

Sam Klemet

Duke Energy of Indiana wants to upgrade its electric grid that powers about 800,000 homes in the state.

But, to do so, they are asking customers to cover the $1.9 billion cost.

Duke believes improving the grid will mean more efficient service.

For example, right now, whenever a tree comes in contact with a power line and causes an outage, all customers on that line or lines connected to it lose power.

Angeline Protogere with Duke says part of the nearly two billion dollar project is to remedy this issue.

"With self-healing technology, the company can automatically detect the problem, isolate it, and reroute power," said Protogere.  "So, fewer customers are left in the dark while repairs are made."

The projects are expected to happen over seven years.  During that time, Duke is asking customers to pay one percent more each year or about $15 more per year.

Protogere believes the move will have support because of what residents get in return.

"It involves a lot of different aspects from advanced metering to grid technology that senses problems on the power line and in some cases helps prevent them all together," she said.

Duke hopes to have hearings on the rate increases in December and have a decision made sometime next spring.



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