If you are a Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) customer, you are invited to comment on the utility’s proposed natural gas rate increase.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), is reviewing the utility’s request and is scheduled to file testimony on Jan. 31, 2024.
While using its legal and technical resources to analyze the request, including examining the utility’s books and operations, the OUCC is inviting written comments from customers through Jan. 24, 2024, according to a news release from OUCC.
NIPSCO is seeking a two-phase, $161.9 million increase in its annual operating revenues. According to its filing, the utility is seeking the increase due to infrastructure improvements and higher operating and maintenance costs.
NIPSCO’s testimony and exhibits show that its request, when fully implemented in March 2025, would raise total residential natural gas charges as follows:
• 50 therms monthly usage, $54.89 current gas bill, $64.90 proposed gas bill.
• 70 therms monthly usage, $70.35 current gas bill, $80.65 proposed gas bill.
• 100 therms monthly usage, $93.54 current gas bill, $104.29 proposed gas bill.
Each NIPSCO residential gas bill includes a monthly $16.25 customer service charge which does not vary based on usage. It would rise to $25.50 under the utility’s request. The remainder of the bill varies by customer usage.
NIPSCO’s current gas base rates received IURC approval in July 2022. Total billing amounts have varied since then due to changes in wholesale commodity costs along with incremental increases to pay for specific infrastructure and federally mandated costs as allowed by Indiana law.
Base distribution rates comprise slightly more than half of a typical NIPSCO customer’s residential natural gas bill, the release states. They cover “non-gas” costs such as operating and maintenance expenses and capital infrastructure improvements. The remainder of a typical monthly bill pays for the natural gas itself, which the utility recovers on a dollar-for-dollar basis subject to OUCC review and IURC approval every three months.
NIPSCO provides natural gas service to approximately 859,000 customers across 32 counties. Electric rates and charges are not at issue in this case.
A settlement agreement is possible in any legal proceeding. If an agreement is reached, the settling parties are required to present evidence showing it to be in the public interest. The IURC may approve, deny or modify any settlement it considers.
Consumers who wish to submit written comments for the case record may do so via the OUCC’s website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, by email at [email protected], or by mail at:
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC)
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 SOUTH
Indianapolis, IN 46204
The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments no later than Jan. 24, 2024, so that it can: 1) Consider them in preparing its testimony and 2) File them with the Commission to be included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, city, and zip code, and a reference to either “IURC Cause No. 45967” or NIPSCO Gas Rates. Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
At least one IURC public field hearing will be held at a date, time and location to be determined.
A final Commission order is expected in summer 2024.
The OUCC is posting case updates online at www.in.gov/oucc/natural-gas/key-cases-by-utility/nipsco-gas-rates/.
Case updates are also available through the agency’s monthly electronic newsletter. Consumers can subscribe at www.in.gov/oucc/news.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education and creative problem solving.