NIPSCO natural gas rate case: Consumer comments invited
IURC field hearings scheduled for July 26 in Fort Wayne & July 27 in South Bend
OUCC accepting written consumer comments through August 9
Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) customers still have the opportunity to comment on the utility's pending request for changes to its natural gas base rates and rate structure.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) - the state agency representing consumer interests in all cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) - is accepting written consumer comments for the NIPSCO gas rate case record through Monday, August 9, 2010.
The OUCC also encourages consumers to attend the IURC field hearings scheduled for next week:
- Monday, July 26, 2010: Grand Wayne Convention Center, 120 West Jefferson Blvd., Fort Wayne
- Tuesday, July 27, 2010: Century Center, 120 South Saint Joseph St., South Bend
Both of the IURC's public field hearings will begin at 6:00 p.m., local time.
An OUCC informational meeting on the regulatory process and public field hearing procedures will precede the field hearings at 5:30 p.m. each evening.
This case's first public field hearing was held on July 8 in Gary.
Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may send them to the OUCC by mail, fax or e-mail, or through the OUCC's Website:
- Mail: Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Fax: (317) 232-5923
All written comments should include the consumer's name, mailing address, and a reference to IURC Cause No. 43894. The OUCC will file all written comments it receives by the close of business on Monday, August 9, 2010 with the IURC for inclusion in the case's official record.
The OUCC 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 the intervening parties is also due on August 16, 2010.
The proposed increase in this case would apply 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 residential base distribution rates, which received IURC approval in 1988, include:
- A fixed, monthly charge of $6.36 which would rise to $20.00 under the utility's pending proposal, and
- Volumetric charges of 17.8 cents per therm for the first 200 therms used per month and 33.31 cents per therm for each therm used above 200 in a month. These charges would decrease to 1.15 cents per therm, regardless of customer usage, under NIPSCO's pending proposal.
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.
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)
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC's mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving. To learn more, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC.
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