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Duke Energy Indiana has filed a plan with Indiana state utility regulators to modernize its electric grid, which provides power to more than 800,000 homes and businesses in the state.

The seven-year, $1.9 billion plan uses a combination of advanced technology and infrastructure upgrades to improve service to its customers and provide them with better information about their energy use.

The utility plans on installing advanced meters in order to handle functions such as meter-reading and service connection/disconnection. The smart meters will also provide customers with access to data, such as an hour-by-hour comparison of energy use and average energy use by day of the week.

Additionally, self-healing grid technologies are being proposed. These systems will automatically detect problems on the grid, isolate the problems and reroute power, so that fewer customers are left in the dark while repairs are made. Duke Energy Indiana will also be deploying various grid technologies to optimize voltage and reduce overall power consumption.

If the plan is approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, customers will see a gradual rate increase, averaging about 1% per year, between 2016 and 2022. The IURC will set a schedule for hearings in the case, and a decision will likely follow in the spring.

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