INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Three of Indiana’s largest natural gas utilities on
Tuesday projected small increases in heating bills for their customers this
Northern Indiana Public Service Co. forecast its customers will see only
about a 1 percent increase in natural gas prices. Citizens Energy Group in
Indianapolis projected typical gas bills for its residential customers will
increase less than 2 percent, and Vectren estimated its customers in
southern and central Indiana will pay about 3 percent more.
“The outlook on natural gas prices and domestic supplies remain stable for
the foreseeable future, which is great news as we head toward the winter
heating season,” NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley said.
The U.S. Energy Department forecast that natural gas costs for users
nationwide will rise about 13 percent for November through March from the
same period last year, to an average of $679. That is still 4 percent below
the average for the previous five winters, the department said in its annual
outlook for heating costs Tuesday.
Vectren North division President Mike Roeder said natural gas customers have
seen winter bills decline over the past four years with falling gas prices.
He said gas prices have since moved up modestly.
NIPSCO says its average customer using about 624 therms total during the
winter heating season would pay about $437 this year for the five winter
heating months as opposed to $433 last winter, according to the NIPSCO
Vectren estimates an average household cost increase of $3 per month or $530
for the entire five-month heating season, down from $750 or more during the
winter of 2008-2009.
Citizens Energy said its typical customer will pay $569 for the five months,
up from $560 last year.
The estimates are based on normal winter weather. Colder-than-normal
temperatures and customer usage could drive individual bills higher.