Indiana Public Service Company has issued a correction to its statement
released on Wednesday, announcing a proposed natural-gas base rate hike
which would increase the average household’s monthly bill from $50 to $60.
The OUCC represents
the interests of utility consumers in the state and will undertake a review
of NIPSCO’s filing with the IURC and--at some point in the process--organize
public hearings on it.
Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is seeking a two-phase increase of
its natural-gas base rates.
Under the proposal,
an average residential customer currently using 69 therms of natural gas and
paying $50 per month would ultimately see an overall 20-percent increase of
approximately $10, or $120 per year.
The first phase
would take effect in mid-2018; the second by early 2019. NIPSCO said that
the total proposed increase would generate an additional $143.5 million.
announcing the proposed increase today, said that it’s filed a rate hike
request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC),
“It has been more
than 25 years since NIPSCO’s base natural gas rates have increased, and in
2010, a regulatory review led to a slight decrease,” the company said.
“Since that time, NIPSCO has regularly been the lowest-cost provider in
Indiana--and among the lowest-cost providers in the nation--while improving
service to customers. NIPSCO anticipates that, with the newly proposed
rates, it will remain among the lowest-cost providers.”
noted, natural gas base rates haven’t changed in 25 years, customers’ bills
“have gone up or down periodically under a small portion of the bill called
‘trackers,’ which reflect and track certain specific aspects of (a
customer’s) service. Examples include the cost associated with administering
energy savings programs or approved infrastructure investments.”
customers’ bills is volatility in the actual price of natural gas. While
NIPSCO directly passes through to customers what it pays for gas,
fluctuations in the price of gas in the marketplace have the effect of
driving bills up or down. Thus residential customers using 69 therms of gas
in 2014 paid $63 per month but only $41 per month in 2015--when the price of
gas dropped--$48 per month in 2015, and $50 per month this year.
justifying the proposed increase in natural gas base rates by citing the
costs associated with state and federal regulations, its investment in an
“aging gas system,” and the need to monitor and maintain “more than 17,800
miles of natural gas pipelines.”
“In addition to
providing affordable natural gas service, customers expect their energy
provider to be responsive to their needs, easy to do business with and
safe,” said NIPSCO executive vice president and president, Violet Sistovaris.
“This proposal seeks to strike the right balance of cost and service in
order to continue delivering on our commitments to customers.”
Customers will have
the opportunity to comment on the requested rate hike in several ways,
NIPSCO added: through written comments submitted directly to the Office
of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC); at
public field hearings; and through various consumer advocacy organizations
that participate in the process.
Customers can learn
more about the request and the regulatory review process by visiting