For immediate release: Jul 03, 2008
Posted by: [OUCC]
Contact: Anthony Swinger
Phone: (317) 233-2747

Indiana Natural Gas Corporation base rate case: State utility consumer advocate accepting public comments

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting public comments as it reviews the request of Indiana Natural Gas Corporation for an increase in its base rates and charges.

The OUCC - the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) - has not yet taken a position on the utility's request but is currently scheduled to complete its review and file testimony on Thursday, August 28. Consumers who wish to provide written comments on the case in the meantime may submit them to the OUCC's consumer services staff via mail, e-mail or fax.

Indiana Natural Gas Corporation - a privately-owned utility serving more than 7,500 customers in seven south-central and southern Indiana counties (Bartholomew, Brown, Crawford, Dubois, Lawrence, Harrison and Orange) - is requesting a 5.9 percent increase in its general operating revenues. According to its testimony, the utility is seeking the rate changes due to increases in operating and maintenance costs.

The proposed increase in this case would only apply to the utility's base distribution rate, which comprises approximately 25 to 30 percent of a typical residential natural gas customer's monthly heating bill. Base distribution rates cover "non-gas" costs such as operating and maintenance expenses, and capital and infrastructure improvements. Indiana Natural Gas Corp.'s current base rates were approved in December 2003.

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. The utility's GCA process, which includes an OUCC audit and requires IURC approval every three months, will not be affected by this case.

According to its filings in this case, the utility's proposal would increase the total residential bill for a customer using 5 dekatherms per month from $73.87 to $79.53, and the total residential bill for 10 dekatherms in a month from $137.38 to $145.61. Indiana Natural Gas Corp. bases its rate comparison estimates on natural gas costs over a 12-month period ending in August 2007; actual billing amounts will vary depending on wholesale natural gas commodity costs.

Data in the utility's testimony indicate that the proposed base rate increase would raise an average residential customer's monthly bill by approximately $5.48.

The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments in this case no later than Friday, August 22. Comments should include the consumer's name, mailing address, and a reference to "IURC Cause No. 43434," and can be submitted by mail, fax or the Internet:

Additional information on this case, including links to the utility's testimony, is available on the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/3353.htm. Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.

For more information about the regulatory process and other utility consumer topics - including tips for managing energy bills and a guide to understanding natural gas prices - please visit the OUCC Website or call the agency toll-free.

 

(IURC Cause No. 43434)

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is the state agency that represents residential and business consumer interests in cases before state and federal utility regulatory commissions. To learn more, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC.

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