Agreement allows NIPSCO gas rates to increase next month
State regulators have approved a settlement involving Northern Indiana Public Service Co.’s natural gas rates that will increase next month.
Newly approved rates, effective Oct. 1, will be phased in over two years, and an average NIPSCO residential natural gas customer will see an overall increase of about 10 in the original proposal, NIPSCO said today.
Included within the overall bill change will be an increase in the monthly customer charge from 14, which is also lower than what was originally proposed. New rates also account for the lower tax rate associated with the federal tax reform, the utility said.
The change for individual commercial and industrial customers will vary depending on usage patterns, the utility said, but on average, rates for overall commercial and smaller industrial customers will also increase less than the original proposal.
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved the settlement this week. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, industrial customers and NIPSCO reached the agreement, which reduces NIPSCO’s original request by $48.9 million, according to the utility consumer counselor.
NIPSCO serves about 820,000 natural gas and 460,000 electric customers across 32 counties. NIPSCO electric rates were not affected by this case.
“This agreement will ensure that the utility will have the revenues needed to complete numerous upgrades throughout its gas transmission and distribution system, while mitigating the rate impact as much as possible,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Bill Fine. “The OUCC is committed to addressing aging infrastructure, reliability, and safety, as they will continue to be critical issues for utilities and their customers throughout the nation.”
NIPSCO has said it has been more than 25 years since its base natural gas rates have increased, and in 2010, a regulatory review led to a slight decrease. Since then, the utility said, it has been the lowest-cost provider in Indiana - and among the lowest-cost providers in the nation - while improving service, reliability and safety to customers.