Chesterton Tribune



NIPSCO Winter heating bills expected to stay flat this season

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The Northern Indiana Public Service Company is projecting natural-gas bills in the upcoming winter season to remain “relatively flat” compared to last season’s bills.

In a statement released this morning, NIPSCO noted that there are two primary components of natural-gas bills: the cost of the gas itself and that of delivering the gas to customers. The cost of the gas NIPSCO passes directly through to customers with no mark-up and no profit on that portion of the bill.

“Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season--Nov. 1 to March 31--NIPSCO’s average natural-gas residential customers using 622 therms could expect to pay approximately $390 in total,” NIPSCO said. “This compares to about $387 last winter.”

Month-by-month projections:

* November: $41 for 58 therms ($42 last winter).

* December: $71 for 111 therms ($70).

* January: $97 for 160 therms ($96).

* February: $103 for 169 therms ($102).

* March: $78 for 124 therms ($77).

* Total: $390 for 622 therms ($387).

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

NIPSCO emphasized that actual bills “vary 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.”

“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,” the company said. “Gas storage is also used to help offset market price volatility. NIPSCO’s gas distribution system consists of two on-system storage facilities and connects to seven interstate pipelines providing access to major North American supply basins.”

“The winter bill projections provided do not relate to NIPSCO’s recent request made with the IURC in September to increase its natural gas base rates--which would be the first time an increase would be seen in more than 25 years for that portion of customer bills,” NIPSCO added. “That request will go through a thorough regulatory review process and any changes wouldn’t take effect until after a decision is made, expected in mid-2018.”

Billing and Payment Options

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. Solutions include:

* 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.

* BudgetPlan: 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 10/11/2017




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