Construction on NIPSCO’s Reynolds-Topeka Line, affecting approximately 105 parcels of land in Kosciusko County, will begin in the next few months. The utility company announced its 7-year $1 billion capital improvement plan will include the replacement of hundreds of miles of electric lines and underground cable. (See related)
The plan gained approval of The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor on Friday. The $1.1 billion re-investment plan will include new or replacement electric transmission and distribution projects through the end of the decade for purposes of safety, reliability, system modernization and economic development.
“Electricity powers our everyday lives and our future depends on having a safe, reliable and affordable source of energy,” said NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley. “We’re planning for the future today through smart investments and replacing critical parts of our electric system to help ensure a more modern system for homes and businesses across northern Indiana.”
Vast portions of the nation’s electric system – including NIPSCO’s – were built in the post-World War II era. After more than 50 years, those systems are nearing the limits of their original design, and NIPSCO’s plan proactively addresses these critical areas before they become problematic.
The modernization projects, which will begin next month, provide a number of direct benefits to customers and communities, including:
- Helping to ensure a continued safe and reliable system for the future
- Identifying and eliminating potential recurring outages caused by aging system failures (i.e. replacing poles more than 40 years old, upgrading outdated 50-year-old electric lines, etc.)
- Providing a more modern energy system – a critical component to attracting new businesses and expanding existing businesses in this area
- Supporting the equivalent of 1,200 direct and indirect jobs – including local trades – associated with these projects throughout the decade
- Investing $1.1 billion through 2020 resulting in a direct local economic boost
- Including consumer protections, external review and oversight to ensure the necessity of these investments
- Providing a gradual and minimal bill impact over time
The separate Reynolds-Topeka Electric System Improvement Project is a 6-year project, according to NIPSCO, and will involve a 100-mile electric transmission line from Reynolds, Ind., to Topeka. The corridor is expected to be approximately 200 feet wide based on the voltage of the line and height of the structures — most anticipated to be 130 feet tall.
NIPSCO is purchasing the easements for the right to use that land for building and maintenance of the transmission line. The utility company says the new line will strengthen Indiana’s electric system and provide improved access to wind and solar renewable energy sources.
During the first few years of work, NIPSCO customers should see little to no rate increases, but by the year 2020, rates will increase a total of about 6 percent.
NIPSCO Chief Executive Officer Jim Stanley responded to the OUCC’s approval of the $1 billion plan saying, “Electricity powers our everyday lives and our future depends on having a safe, reliable and affordable source of energy. We’re planning for the future today through smart investments and replacing critical parts of our electric system to help ensure a more modern system for homes and businesses across northern Indiana.”
To see where the line will pass through Kosciusko County, view the map HERE. The maps are also available to the public at Milford Public Library and Syracuse Public Library.