Jul. 29—Amid rising inflation, Region residents will have to shell out more to heat their homes this winter. NIPSCO's natural gas rates are about to rise.
The average customer will pay about 10% more, or about $6 a month, for natural gas after a rate hike kicks in this September. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission gave the Merrillville-based utility permission to start charging more for natural gas after a year-long review.
A second increase will come in March of next year as a result of the rate hike.
"Customers expect service that is dependable and rates at the lowest cost possible," said Mike Hooper, NIPSCO's president and chief operating officer. "This balanced outcome demonstrates a positive path toward continued investments in essential resources that will support safe operations, upgrading aging infrastructure and enhancing our customers' experience."
NIPSCO serves 850,000 natural gas customers across the state, including Northwest Indiana. The latest rate hike is expected to generate $71.8 million more per year that will be funneled back into system improvements and go to profit its shareholders.
NIPSCO last raised its natural gas base rates in 2018. The company used the extra revenue to invest $885 million in its distribution system, new technology and pipeline safety. That work will continue through the end of this year.
The electric and natural gas utility initially sought a 17% increase to a base rate of $24.50 a month. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and the NIPSCO Industrial Group of large customers ultimately reached an agreement on a base rate of $16.33.
The impact of the increased rates on commercial and industrial businesses will vary depending on usage, rate type and class, NIPSCO noted.
The utility offers energy savings programs to cut back on usage and bill payment assistance programs, including payment plans that spread winter spikes out over the whole year.
For more information, visit NIPSCO.com/save or NIPSCO.com/assistance.
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