A public field
hearing on NIPSCO’s proposed electric rate increase will be held before the
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) at 6 p.m. Monday, March 11, at
the Hammond High School auditorium, 5926 Calumet Ave. in Hammond.
encouraged to arrive by 5:45 p.m. for an overview of the hearing procedures
and the rate case process.
At the hearing,
consumers will be able to speak directly to the IURC, under oath and on the
record, regarding the case, and will also be able to submit written comments
for the case record. But members of the IURC are not allowed to answer
questions. Staff from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC),
however, will be available before, during, and after the hearing, to answer
questions about the process.
Proposed Rate Hike
specifically seeking to raise monthly electric charges for an average
residential customer using 689 kilowatt hours (kWh) from $94.54 to $105.96.
According to NIPSCO’s exhibits, a residential customer using 1,000 kWh would
see his or her monthly electric charges rise from $130.96 to $146.07.
identified the case’s “key drivers” as realignment of depreciation rates for
its coal-fired generating facilities (including costs of planned generating
facility retirements), impacts from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of
2017, and the “near term” shifting recovery of certain costs from industrial
customers to other customers, to address options industrial customers have
for generating more of their own electricity.
base electric rates were approved in July 2016, the OUCC noted. However,
billing amounts have changed since then due to rate recovery mechanisms--or
“trackers”--which allow rate increases for specific items on an expedited
basis. Rates have also changed due to federal income tax reductions the
utility received under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
The OUCC, for its
part, has recommended against any increase of residential customer
rates. “This includes keeping the electric utility’s flat, monthly
residential customer charge at its current $14 level,” the OUCC said.
The OUCC has also
recommended reductions to numerous line items in NIPSCO’s request and a
reduction to the utility’s proposed return on equity.
power supply options available to the company’s largest customers and
facilitating cost savings to those customers, while shielding residential
and commercial customer classes from covering those costs,” the OUCC said.
Natural gas rates
and charges are not at issue in this case. NIPSCO’s electric utility
provides service to more than 468,000 customers in 20 counties.
Consumers who wish
to submit written comments may do so in these ways:
* The OUCC’s
* Via email at
* Or by USPS:
Consumer Services Staff, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115
W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204
The OUCC needs to
receive all written consumer comments no later than Mar. 13 so that it can
file them with the IURC to be included in the case’s formal evidentiary
record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a
reference to “IURC Cause No. 45159.” Consumers with questions about
submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff
toll-free at (888) 441-2494. Please do not include account numbers or other