NIPSCO electric rate case: Consumer comments invited
Public field hearing scheduled for April 7 in Hammond
Written comments invited from customers throughout NIPSCO's electric service territory
Consumers are invited to comment on Northern Indiana Public Service Company's (NIPSCO's) request for an increase in its electric rates and charges.
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 case record. The OUCC also encourages NIPSCO electric customers to attend the IURC's upcoming public field hearing in this case, scheduled for Thursday, April 7, 2011 at Hammond High School (5926 Calumet Avenue in Hammond).
The field hearing's public comment portion will begin at 6:00 p.m. Central Time.
- Sworn oral and written comments regarding the rate case will be accepted during the field hearing.
- Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight, and will become part of the official evidentiary record considered by the IURC in reaching its final decision.
- Commissioners are not permitted to answer consumer questions during the formal field hearing. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after the hearing.)
An OUCC informational session on the regulatory process and public field hearing procedures will start at 5:30 p.m., Central Time.
Electric utility base rates primarily cover infrastructure, operating and maintenance costs. This case is separate from NIPSCO's quarterly Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC) process, which allows electric utilities to recover coal and other fuel costs on a dollar-for-dollar basis. FAC cost recovery is subject to OUCC review and IURC approval.
NIPSCO is seeking $75.7 million in new operating revenues in IURC Cause No. 43969. According to its testimony and exhibits, NIPSCO's proposal would increase an average monthly residential electric bill for 688 kilowatt hours (kWh) from $74.88 to $80.82; a residential electric bill for 1000 kWh would rise from $105.77 to $108.25. In its testimony, the utility states that its proposed base rate increase is due to growth in operating and maintenance expenses, along with capital improvements to its transmission and distribution infrastructure.
The OUCC is reviewing NIPSCO's request and has not yet taken a position in this case. The OUCC currently anticipates filing testimony on July 12, 2011.
A number of additional parties - including NIPSCO industrial customers, the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, the Jasper County Board of Commissioners and several municipal governments (including Dyer, Griffith, Hammond, Highland, Munster, and Schererville) - have formally intervened in this case through legal counsel. Testimony from intervening parties is expected to be filed on July 12, 2011, the same date as the OUCC's testimony.
Consumers throughout NIPSCO's electric service territory who are unable to attend the April 7 field hearing are encouraged to submit written comments to the OUCC. The OUCC accepts written comments by mail, fax and the Internet:
- Mail: Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Fax: (317) 232-5923
- E-mail: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov
- OUCC Website: www.IN.gov/OUCC
All written comments should include the consumer's name, mailing address, and a reference to IURC Cause No. 43969. Comments the OUCC receives by July 6, 2011 will be filed with the IURC to be included in the case's formal evidentiary record.
NIPSCO provides electric utility service to more than 456,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in 20 northern Indiana counties.
The requested increase in this case is based on NIPSCO's current electric base rates, which were approved in 1987. While the IURC approved new electric base rates for NIPSCO in August 2010 (in Cause No. 43526), the rate changes have not gone into effect due to procedural issues and the fact that several parties have appealed that order.
NIPSCO's natural gas rates and charges are not at issue in this case.
For more information, including links to NIPSCO's testimony in this case, please visit the OUCC Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2643.htm.
(IURC Cause No. 43969)
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.