MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana residents have more time to sound off about a natural gas rate increase being sought by Northern Indiana Public Service Co.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says it's now accepting comments until Feb. 21 on NIPSCO's request.

The deadline had been Jan. 17.

The Merrillville-based utility wants to increase base gas rates for its 820,000 gas customers in 32 counties. NIPSCO says the increase would be phased in by mid-2018 and fully implemented by early 2019.

NIPSCO says residential customers using 69 therms per month and currently paying $50 would see an overall monthly increase of $10.

The increased needs Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approval.

The IURC has held two public hearings on NIPSCO's request, and a third is scheduled for Feb. 5 in South Bend.