Base rates for NIPSCO's natural gas remain unchanged after the Indiana
Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approved a settlement agreement to
extend existing rates for all natural gas customers, the Northern Indiana
Public Service Company announced today.
The IURC approved the settlement agreement reached earlier this summer by
NIPSCO, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), and other
key customer stakeholders, which effectively extends the same rates that
were approved in the 2010 rate case order.
While NIPSCO will be required to file another rate case on or before the end
of 2020, the company anticipates maintaining the same base rates throughout
“Natural gas, and its projected cost in the market, continues to be a great
value for customers for the foreseeable future,” NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley
said. “This decision is great news for homes and businesses, as they’ll be
able to continue taking advantage of some of the most competitive natural
gas rates in the state and much of the country.”
For nearly two years, NIPSCO’s natural gas rates have been the lowest in
Indiana on average, according to the IURC Natural Gas Residential Bill
Survey, NIPSCO noted.
Key provisions from the settlement agreement approved by the IURC include
the following, NIPSCO said:
* No change to NIPSCO’s monthly gas delivery/service charge. The customer
charge for residential customers will remain at $11 and will continue to
separate fixed monthly service costs from variable, usage-driven costs,
allowing customers to better track and manage energy usage.
* Continuation of NIPSCO’s low-income customer heating assistance program
for eligible residential natural gas customers.
* Extension of reduced deposit requirements for eligible low-income
* Requirement to file another natural gas rate case on or before November of
“Besides the base rates for natural gas service, the cost of the natural gas
commodity itself represents the largest portion of customer bills --on
average, two-thirds 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
“While NIPSCO cannot control market conditions affecting the price of
natural gas, the utility does negotiate the best possible price for the
natural gas it purchases for its customers,” the company noted. “NIPSCO’s
purchasing strategy is a multi-faceted approach that consists of buying gas
in the market from a variety of supply sources at different times throughout
the year. The ability to utilize gas storage helps to offset market price
NIPSCO’s gas distribution system consists of three on-system storage
facilities and connects to seven interstate pipelines providing access to
eight major North American supply basins.
In October, NIPSCO plans to release its forecast for winter heating bills
which compares this coming winter to last winter.
“Later this year, NIPSCO also plans to file a comprehensive long-term
infrastructure modernization plan for its natural gas division,” the company
added. “The improvements and associated investments won’t change base rates,
but a minimal overall bill impact is anticipated. Those impacts won't likely
occur until 2015 at the earliest.”