Chesterton Tribune



NIPSCO Expect to pay more for natural gas this winter

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Each year, NIPSCO is projecting higher natural-gas bills during the upcoming five-month winter heating season.

Specifically, residential customers should expect to pay approximately $7.50 more per month.

“The primary reason for the difference is the newly approved natural gas rates that took effect Oct. 1, as the commodity cost of natural gas itself is expected to remain flat to slightly less than last winter,” NIPSCO said in a statement released today.

“Actual bills vary by customers depending on the home’s age and size, number in the household, number and age of gas appliances, thermostat settings, and insulation levels,” NIPSCO added.

Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season--Nov. 1 to March 31--NIPSCO’s average residential gas customers using the system average of 622 therms could expect to pay approximately $423 in total, compared to about $386 last winter.

By comparison, five years ago during the 2013/2014 winter heating season, customers spent a total of $536 for the same five winter months.

“There are two primary components of natural gas bills: the cost of the natural gas itself and the cost of delivering the natural gas to customers,” NIPSCO said. “For the cost of natural gas itself, NIPSCO passes it directly through to customers with no markup. The cost of all components of NIPSCO’s gas service is reviewed and approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).”

Projections take into account market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, and are based on normal weather projections. If temperatures are colder or warmer than normal, usage amounts and bills could differ.

“To help ensure customers receive the best price for natural gas, NIPSCO purchases gas in the market from a variety of supply sources throughout the year,” NIPSCO noted. “Gas storage is also used to help offset market price volatility. NIPSCO’s gas distribution system consists of two on-system storage facilities and is connected to seven interstate pipelines providing access to major North American supply basins.”

Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to call NIPSCO’s 24-hour Customer Care Center as soon as possible to determine what options might be available to offer help. Some of those solutions include the following:

* Payment Assistance Programs: Based on income levels, customers may qualify to receive state and federal utility assistance dollars as well as support funds from separate NIPSCO programs by visiting their local community action agency.

* Budget Plan: A free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly energy bills by spreading out gas costs over an entire year.

* Payment Arrangements: Allows customers to make an initial payment within four days of the agreement, then spread the remaining unpaid balance over three months, plus current bills as they are due.

For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit



Posted 10/10/2018




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