Chesterton Tribune



Brutal winter reflected in NiSource 1Q gas sales

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So how brutally cold was this winter?

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 percent colder.

That, from NiSource Inc.’s quarterly report, released on Wednesday.

In a normal Northwest Indiana winter, there are 2,892 “heating degree days,” which measure the demand for energy needed to heat a building. The more heating degree days, the colder the weather is and the more you spend on natural gas to heat your home.

In the first quarter of 2014, however, NiSource recorded 3,437 heating degree days, that is, fully 18.8 percent more than normal. By way of contrast, there were only 2,919 heating degree days in the first quarter of 2013, not even 1 percent more than normal.

Residential customers consumed a total of 156.5 million decatherms of natural gas in the first quarter of the year, compared to 132.0 million in the year-ago period: or 18.5 percent more natural gas use this winter than last. Commercial customers consumed 90.1 million decatherms, compared to only 75.3 million in the year-ago: or 19.7 percent more.

That increased consumption led to increased sales for NiSource. Its gas distribution segment posted net revenues of $1.215 billion in the first quarter, compared to $892.2 billion in the year-ago, an improvement of 36 percent. Its gas-transportation and storage segment: net revenues of $578.5 million, compared to $468.5 million in the year ago, an improvement of 23 percent.

Those increased revenues, however, had less of an impact on NiSource’s bottom line than one might think: net income in the first quarter was $266.2 million, compared to $260.5 in the year-ago. NiSource recorded $50.9 million more in total operating expenses in the first quarter of 2014, $10.5 million more in additional unspecified deductions, and $44.3 million more in income taxes than it did in the first quarter of 2013.


Posted 5/2/2014