temperatures across northern Indiana during January were 39 percent colder
than last year --17 degrees this past January, compared to 28 degrees in
January 2013--resulting in the average residential natural-gas customer’s
increasing consumption by 34 percent over last year.
consumption will cost customers around $36 more than they paid in January
2013 and $19 more than what was originally projected, the Northern Indiana
Public Service Company said today.
Actual bills will
vary by customer, of course, depending on household size, age of appliances,
and usage, among other factors.
“The first two
months of the year typically represent the highest bills of the year for
Indiana homes and businesses, as well as other parts of the Midwest,” said
Deb Owen, NIPSCO’s executive director of customer service. “Our region
experienced some of the coldest days in the last several decades, resulting
in higher than normal usage. Even with thermostats being set at a fixed
temperature, it doesn’t escape the fact that heating systems have to
constantly run to keep up with dropping outdoor temperatures.”
“The extreme cold
has increased the price of all heating energy around the country, including
natural gas and propane,” NIPSCO said. “Throughout these conditions, NIPSCO
did not experience any significant operational challenges to serve its
customers, and NIPSCO has been able to acquire the additional supplies to
meet the critical demand.”
prices may impact bills in future months, and forecasts for February are
calling for colder than normal temperatures, which may also increase
customer usage,” NIPSCO added.
of a customer bill is determined by the cost of natural gas and a customer’s
usage, NIPSCO noted. “By law, NIPSCO has no mark-up and makes no profit on
the cost of natural gas billed to its customers. Before billing, natural gas
commodity costs must be reviewed by the Indiana Utility Regulatory
to be the lowest natural gas cost provider in Indiana--$40 below the state
average for January--according to the IURC’s monthly residential bill
comparison survey,” NIPSCO said.
extremely cold winter, NIPSCO still encourages customers to be efficient in
the use of energy.
temperatures and weather also posed unsafe conditions for NIPSCO meter
readers to provide actual reads for many customers and, instead, customers
received estimated readings,” NIPSCO said. “For those customers who received
an estimated bill, their actual usage will be reconciled the following
month. Customers can enter their meter reading anytime through their online
account or through NIPSCO’s automated phone system.”
Billing and Payment
Customers who are
experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to call NIPSCO’s Customer
Care Center to determine what options might be available to offer help.
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
* BudgetPlan: A
free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly energy
bills by spreading out gas costs over an entire year.
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.
information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance
energy efficiency programs, customers can pinpoint ways to manage their
energy usage and, in turn, their bills. A full list of programs available to
NIPSCO customers to help manage energy use can be found at NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy