Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

NIPSCO winter heating bills projected to be second lowest in last 10 years

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NIPSCO is projecting the average residential household’s winter heating bills this season to be the second lowest in 10 years.

But still 79 percent higher than last season’s.

According to a statement released this week, the average residential household using 640 therms of natural gas during the course of this season—Nov. 1 to March 31—can expect to pay a total of $519, fully 20 percent less than the previous five-year average of $650.

“(A)ssuming normal winter temperatures,” of course, NIPSCO stipulated.

Although the average residential household paid a total of $289.34 over the course of last season—or 79 percent less than the $519 projected for this season—that amount was “artificially lower because of a credit that was applied to bills,” NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer told the Chesterton Tribune on Thursday.

“If that credit had not been included, bills (last season) would have been closer to the original projection (of $509) and in line with this year’s projection,” Meyer said. “Bottom line, this (season’s) is the second lowest winter gas bill in the last 10 years.”

“We’re proud to offer the lowest gas bills in Indiana for 12 months and we expect to continue offering the lowest bills this winter,” NIPSCO CEO Jimmy Staton said. “Actual bills this winter could turn out to be even lower if customers implement simple energy savings measures and normal winter temperatures hold steady.”

This season’s projection does not include the result of NIPSCO’s recent natural-gas rate-case settlement, which would result in a nominal decrease for all NIPSCO customers of approximately $7.50 per year.

That settlement is currently pending approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

NIPSCO noted that the company is not a producer of natural gas but only a distributor and that it must purchase gas from the national marketplace for re-sale to its customers.

“In a commitment to secure the most reliable supply of natural gas at the lowest cost for customers, NIPSCO’s purchasing strategy consists of buying gas in the market from a variety of sources at different times throughout the year, while utilizing gas storage to offset market price volatility,” NIPSCO said.

The company’s gas distribution system provides access to seven interstate pipelines, three on-system storage facilities, and eight major North American supply basins.

“The cost of natural gas represents the largest portion of customer bills, typically making up three-fourths of an overall bill,” the company said. “NIPSCO has no mark-up and makes no profit on the cost of natural gas billed to its customers.”

“While NIPSCO cannot control market conditions affecting the price of a natural gas, the utility does negotiate the best possible price for the natural gas it purchases for its customers,” NIPSCO added.





Posted 10/15/2010




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