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    Utility Consumer Counselor seeks public comment on NIPSCO electric rate hike


    November 29, 2022 - STAFF REPORTS

     

      INDIANAPOLISThe Indiana Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor is reminding Northwest Indiana residents of the deadline to comment on NIPSCO's recently filed electric rate case.

      The OUCC, the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, is inviting written consumer comments for the official case record through mid-January.

      NIPSCO's request would raise an average monthly residential electric bill (668 kw hours) from $107.78 to $127.21 under a two-phase increase taking effect in September 2023 and March 2024. The bill would then rise to $133.43 under a new "tracker," or rate adjustment mechanism, that would gradually raise rates beginning in July 2024.

      In its testimony, NIPSCO said it was seeking the increase due to numerous infrastructure projects, including the transition from its coal-fired generating fleet to more renewable electricity production.

      NIPSCO serves more than 483,000 electric customers in 20 counties. Natural gas rates are not at issue in this case.

      OUCC analysts and attorneys are reviewing NIPSCO's testimony and exhibits, and the agency is scheduled to complete its review and file testimony on Jan. 20, 2023. Public comments are invited in writing through Jan. 13.

      Consumers who wish to submit written comments for the case record may do so via the OUCC's website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, by email at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov, or by mail at: Public Comments, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 SOUTH, Indianapolis, IN, 46204.

      The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments no later than Jan. 13 so that it can consider comments in preparing its testimony and 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 either "IURC Cause No. 45772" or NIPSCO Electric Rates. Consumers with questions about submitting comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff at 888-441-2494.

      In addition, the OUCC has filed a pending request for two IURC public field hearings to be held in the utility's service territory. Comments offered at field hearings carry equal weight with written consumer comments.

      Several additional parties have intervened in this case, including the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, United States Steel Corp. and NLMK Indiana. Any testimony they file is also due by Jan. 20.

      The OUCC is posting case updates online at in.gov/oucc/electric/key-cases-by-utility/nipsco-electric-rates/nipsco -electric-rate-case-20222023/. Updates are also available through the agency's monthly electronic newsletter. Consumers can subscribe at in.gov/oucc/news.

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