Light Lease Settlement Approved by Utility Regulatory Commission

By Scott Sarvay

August 10, 2011 Updated Aug 10, 2011 at 6:19 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) and the City of Fort Wayne confirmed Wednesday that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has approved the agreement between I&M and the City to resolve issues surrounding the conclusion of the 35-year-old City Light Lease and the related agreement between I&M and the Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC).

Commission approval of the agreements puts an end to the dispute between the two parties and confirms again that I&M is the exclusive electric service provider in Fort Wayne. Under terms of the agreement, I&M will pay the City a total of $39.2 million over 15 years, with $5 million of that coming as an upfront payment. The Commission’s approval also clears the way for the City to access the nearly $38 million in the City Light Trust Fund.

The terms of the agreement are retroactive to February 2010 when the City Light Lease expired. I&M has been making payments under the agreement to the City subject to the Commission’s review and payments will continue to February 2025. The City will transfer ownership of certain equipment and facilites being used by I&M to serve customers, but service to I&M’s customers will not change and rates will remain the same until future rate cases.

The agreement was subject to the approval of both the Commission and the Fort Wayne Common Council, which unanimously approved the agreement on November 23, 2010. The OUCC had expressed concerns over the effect the certain payments by I&M would have on customers. I&M worked directly with OUCC staff and agreed to absorb $4.1 million of the costs in order to alleviate the OUCC’s concerns.

I&M and the City will work together over the next few months to finalize the documents required to close the transactions authorized by the agreement.

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