Press release from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC).
Webmaster’s note: The first part of this release contained information about the Gary, Indiana hearings and is ommitted. To view the entire release, click here.
(June 29, 2010) – Under NIPSCO’s pending request, residential natural gas bills would include a new fixed, monthly $20 charge to pay for operating, maintenance and infrastructure costs.
In its testimony, NIPSCO is requesting the new rate structure to recover “non-gas” costs rather than recovering them based on customer usage, which has declined over the last two decades.
NIPSCO is seeking a 6.9 percent increase in the total annual natural gas operating revenues that it collects from residential customers.
The proposed increase in this case would apply only to NIPSCO’s base distribution rates, which comprise approximately 25 to 30 percent of a typical residential natural gas customer’s monthly heating bill. Base distribution rates cover “non-gas” expenses such as capital improvements and the costs of operations and maintenance.
NIPSCO’s current natural gas base rates received IURC approval in 1988.
Wholesale natural gas supply costs, which make up between 70 and 75 percent of a typical customer’s bill, are recovered on a dollar-for-dollar basis through the state’s Gas Cost Adjustment (GCA) process. NIPSCO files its GCA requests, which require OUCC review and IURC approval, every three months. The GCA process will not be affected by this case.
The OUCC, the state agency representing the interests of all consumers in IURC cases, is reviewing NIPSCO’s request and has not yet taken a position in this case. The OUCC is currently scheduled to file testimony on August 16, 2010.
A number of additional parties – including the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, industrial customers, and gas supply marketers that participate in the NIPSCO Choice program – have formally intervened in this case through legal counsel. Testimony from intervening parties is also due on August 16, 2010.
For more information on this case, including links to NIPSCO’s testimony and exhibits, please visit the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2621.htm. The OUCC Website also offers a guide to state utility regulatory proceedings, tips for reducing energy bills, a guide to understanding natural gas prices, and more.
NIPSCO provides natural gas utility service to more than 712,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in 28 northern Indiana counties. NIPSCO’s electric rates, charges and service are not at issue in this case.
(IURC Cause No. 43894)
Information about tomorrow’s hearing location and times may be found here.