Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) customers are invited to
comment on the utility’s pending request for changes to its natural gas base
rates and rate structure.
Two events regarding this case are scheduled for Thursday, July 8, 2010 in
Gary, Indiana. Both events will be held at the Genesis Convention Center at
1 Genesis Center Plaza:
•At 5 p.m. the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) will
conduct an information meeting to discuss the regulatory process and
describe public field hearing procedures.
•At 5:30 p.m. the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) will conduct
a formal public field hearing to accept oral and written consumer comments
regarding NIPSCO’s natural gas rates.
Oral and written comments submitted at the field hearing—carrying equal
weight—will become part of the official evidentiary record considered by the
IURC in reaching its final decision.
Although the commissioners themselves are not permitted to answer consumer
questions during the formal field hearing, OUCC and IURC staff will be
available throughout the evening.
Consumers are also invited to submit written comments to the OUCC in this
case. The OUCC will file all written comments it receives by August 9 with
the IURC for inclusion in the case’s official record.
All written comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address,
and a reference to IURC Cause No. 43894.They may be submitted by mail, fax
or e-mail, or through the OUCC’s Website:
•Mail: Consumer Services Staff; Indiana Office of Utility Consumer
Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South; Indianapolis, IN 46204.
•Fax: (317) 232-5923.
•OUCC Website: www.IN.gov/OUCC
Under NIPSCO’s pending request, residential natural gas bills would include
what NIPSCO is calling a “consistent monthly charge” of “roughly $20” to pay
for operating, maintenance and infrastructure costs. That monthly charge
would, NIPSCO is saying amount “to an average monthly increase of $1.67 or
In its testimony, NIPSCO is requesting the new rate structure to recover
“non-gas” costs rather than recovering them based on customer usage, which
has declined over the last two decades.
NIPSCO is seeking a 6.9 percent increase in the total annual natural gas
operating revenues that it collects from residential customers.
The proposed increase in this case would apply only to NIPSCO’s base
distribution rates, which comprise approximately 25 to 30 percent of a
typical residential natural gas customer’s monthly heating bill. Base
distribution rates cover “non-gas” expenses such as capital improvements and
the costs of operations and maintenance.
NIPSCO’s current natural gas base rates received IURC approval in 1988.
Wholesale natural gas supply costs, which make up between 70 and 75 percent
of a typical customer’s bill, are recovered on a dollar-for-dollar basis
through the state’s Gas Cost Adjustment (GCA) process. NIPSCO files its GCA
requests, which require OUCC review and IURC approval, every three months.
The GCA process will not be affected by this case.
The OUCC, the state agency representing the interests of all consumers in
IURC cases, is reviewing NIPSCO’s request and has not yet taken a position
in this case. The OUCC is currently scheduled to file testimony on August
A number of additional parties—including the Citizens Action Coalition of
Indiana, industrial customers, and gas supply marketers that participate in
the NIPSCO Choice program – have formally intervened in this case through
legal counsel. Testimony from intervening parties is also due on August 16,
For more information on this case, including links to NIPSCO’s testimony and
exhibits, please visit the OUCC Website at
The OUCC Website also offers a guide to state utility regulatory
proceedings, tips for reducing energy bills, a guide to understanding
natural gas prices, and more.