Home News NIPSCO, consumer groups reach natural gas rate settlement – Chicago Tribune

NIPSCO, consumer groups reach natural gas rate settlement – Chicago Tribune


Northern Indiana Public Service Co. customers will see their natural gas bills go up again this summer, but not by as much as the utility wanted.

The utility and groups opposed to the rate increase agreed recently that NIPSCO should get about 75% of its original request

NIPSCO had asked the state’s utility regulators for a 10.6% increase in its gas rates in October 2023.

The utility said it needed to raise its natural gas revenue by $161.9 million a year.

That request came less than a year after NIPSCO’s previous increase in natural gas rates.

In January this year, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission conducted a public hearing in Hammond on the rate proposal.

Also in January, the state’s Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), which represents consumers, proposed that NIPSCO get an $80.1 million revenue increase, about half of what the utility wanted.

On March 20, NIPSCO and the groups opposed to the size of NIPSCO’s rate increase filed a settlement agreement.

If approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), the agreement would cut NIPSCO’s revenue increase to $120.9 million, about 75% of what NIPSCO originally wanted.

The agreement also sets the monthly residential service charge at $16.50; NIPSCO wanted to increase it to $25.50, the OUCC said. The monthly customer service charge for small businesses would be $67 instead of the $96 requested by NIPSCO.

In testimony filed March 25, the director of the OUCC’s Natural Gas Division said all the parties involved in the NIPSCO rate case — NIPSCO, the OUCC, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, the NIPSCO Industrial Group, Direct Energy Marketing, and Steel Dynamics Inc. — had agreed to the settlement or agreed not to oppose it.

The IURC will conduct a hearing on the settlement on April 24, and is expected to issue its final decision sometime this summer.

The IURC can approve, deny or change the settlement agreement, OUCC external affairs director Olivia Rivera said.

But typically, the regulatory commission goes along with a settlement agreement.

Tim Zorn is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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