Chesterton Tribune

 

 

NIPSCO reg compliance could cost folks $1.07 more monthly, public comment sought

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is encouraging Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) customers to comment on the utility’s pending environmental compliance construction case.

According to the OUCC, NIPSCO is asking the IURC to approve its proposed MATS Compliance Plan, which would include the construction, installation, and operation of new pollution control equipment at NIPSCO’s Bailly, Michigan City and Schahfer generating stations. The equipment would be installed on seven generating units at the three facilities, and would reduce mercury and particulate matter emissions.

In its testimony, the utility states that the project is necessary for compliance with federal regulations, specifically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.

NIPSCO is also seeking IURC approval to recover the project’s costs through rates, with rate adjustments to be made every six months. The utility currently estimates the project’s construction costsÑnot including financingÑat approximately $59.2 million.

In its testimony, NIPSCO states that it expects the project to add approximately $1.07 to the monthly electric bill for an average residential customer using 688 kilowatt hours (kWh) by 2017.

NIPSCO provides electric utility service to approximately 457,000 customers throughout northern Indiana. The outcome of this case will only affect the utility’s electric rates, and will not affect NIPSCO’s natural gas rates and charges.

Public Comment Opportunities

The IURC has scheduled a public field hearing for Monday, April 22, at the Lake County Government Center Auditorium at 2293 N. Main St. in Crown Point. At 5:30 p.m. the OUCC will conduct an information session on the regulatory process. At 6 p.m. the IURC will accept public comments.

The public may speak at the field hearing or send written comments to the OUCC anytime between now and the close of business on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

More:

¥Sworn oral and written comments regarding the case will be accepted during the field hearing.

¥Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight and will become part of the case’s official evidentiary record.

¥Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after the hearing.)

The OUCCÑwhich represents consumer interests in cases before the IURCÑis still evaluating this case and is scheduled to file testimony on May 7, 2013. Additional parties who have intervened in this case Ñincluding the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC) and the NIPSCO Industrial GroupÑare also scheduled to file testimony on May 7.

More information on this case is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2740.htm

Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm or by mail, email or fax:

¥Mail: Consumer Services Staff, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St.,

Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204

¥email: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov

¥Fax: (317) 232-5923

Written comments the OUCC receives by May 1 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44311.”

Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at (888) 441-2494.

 

 

Posted 4/11/2013