- Infrastructure modernization
- Economic development and job creation-related projects
- System improvements that directly benefit customers and communities
Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO), a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), has made a request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to adjust its natural gas base rates. The request is largely driven by federal safety and compliance regulations, system upgrades to support economic development and job creation, and infrastructure modernization and improvements that directly benefit customers and communities – including an estimated $1.1 billion in investments through the end of 2024.
“Natural gas is a vital and critical resource to many – ranging from the manufacturing industry to home heating,” said Mike Hooper, NIPSCO president. “Required investments such as these align with our focus to continually improve customer service, enhance the availability and reliability of our natural gas system, and provide an infrastructure to support new jobs and economic growth.”
The proposed increase, filed with the IURC today, will undergo a thorough and nearly yearlong regulatory review process that will allow for public input in order to strike the right balance of cost and service for NIPSCO customers.
“As a regulated energy provider, we have a responsibility to replace older parts of our system, reduce potential risks, meet a host of federal compliance requirements, and improve the robustness and safety of our system for our approximately 859,000 natural gas customers and the communities we serve across 32 counties,” added Hooper.
How will residential customer bills change?
NIPSCO cannot change any rates or charges to its customers without the approval of the IURC. NIPSCO’s electric rates are not affected by this request.
The request to increase gas base rates is related to the costs associated with delivering natural gas to customers and comprises a smaller portion of the bill. NIPSCO does not mark up the price it pays for the natural gas used by homes and businesses, and customers pay the same dollar-for-dollar cost NIPSCO pays. The cost of natural gas is one of the largest determining factors of gas customers’ bills.
Balancing the need for necessary system improvements while limiting the bill impact on customers is important. Based on NIPSCO’s proposal, an average natural gas residential customer, as a result of this case, would see an estimated overall increase of approximately $8 per month, or 10.6 percent above projected bills at the time of implementation. Newly approved rates would be spread over two steps, with the second step occurring no later than March 2025. Actual projected bill impacts for commercial and industrial customers may differ as it will depend on usage, rate type and class.
Learn more about NIPSCO’s proposal at NIPSCO.com/2024gasrates.
Improved service to customers
Service to customers has continued to improve, and NIPSCO has furthered its commitment to customers in several ways in recent years, including:
- Introducing smart technologies that allows for better detection of potential leaks that need to be addressed and the inspection of pipes to detect abnormal pipe conditions
- Being among the industry leaders for emergency response times
Natural gas infrastructure upgrades and modernization, including:
- Natural gas expansion projects that included the installation of 26 miles of new 24” natural gas steel pipeline and 7.75 miles of new 30” natural gas steel pipeline
- Natural gas upgrade to provide critical gas service to support industrial customers
Projects that support state and local economic retention, growth and job creation, including:
- Modernization and upgrade of natural gas lines and regulator stations in order to continue to meet the needs of large employers across northern Indiana
Build out of natural gas pipelines to support new business investment in our service territory, creating new assessed value and jobs in local communities, for example:
- Approximately 18.5 miles of 24” steel pipeline to support StarPlus Energy JV in Kokomo, Ind., a $3.1 billion investment creating 1,300 jobs in Phase 1. Phase 2 announced in Oct 2023, to invest an additional $3.2 billion and create 1,400 additional jobs.
Refining and expanding customer service, energy efficiency and energy assistance programs, including:
- Expanded bill payment assistance programs for low-income customers, including seasonal SILVER (seniors) and SERV (active-duty military and veterans)
- Live chat and Chatbot functions to assist customers seeking information
- Enhanced NIPSCO Mobile App features
Help is available
Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties, regardless of their situation, are always encouraged to visit nipsco.com/assistance or call NIPSCO’s Customer Care Center at 1-800-464-7726 as soon as possible to determine what options might be available. Some of those solutions include:
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): LIHEAP support is available to households that are at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income (SMI). Customers can learn more and find out if they qualify by visiting eap.ihcda.in.gov or calling 2-1-1. Applications are taken through May 20, 2024, at 5p.m. EST.
- Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) Discount Program: In addition to the assistance available through LIHEAP, the NIPSCO CARE program is designed to provide further bill reductions to LIHEAP-approved customers. Once enrolled in LIHEAP, customers are automatically enrolled in the program, and reductions range from 11 to 26 percent, depending on the same criteria used by the state in determining the level of assistance.
- Flexible Payment Plans: NIPSCO has expanded its payment plan agreements to offer its most flexible payment plans to customers that need financial support, including three-, six- and 12-month plans. Customers can learn more and enroll at NIPSCO.com/PaymentPlans.
- Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance (IERA) Program: IERA provides financial assistance for rent and utility payments for Indiana residents whose income has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Customers can learn more and find out if they qualify by calling 2-1-1.
- Township Trustees: A limited amount of energy assistance funds are available through local Township Trustee offices. NIPSCO customers are encouraged to contact their local Township Trustee to see what help may be available.
- Budget Plan: The budget plan is a free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly energy bills by spreading out gas costs over an entire year. Learn more at NIPSCO.com/budget.
For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/assistance. Customers looking to quickly find information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, can use NIPSCO’s chat feature located in the bottom right-hand corner of its website (NIPSCO.com) or via the mobile app. Customers may also contact the NIPSCO Customer Care Center at 1-800-4-NIPSCO Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT.
In addition to offering a variety of payment assistance options, NIPSCO offers a number of energy-efficiency programs to help lower energy usage and bills. Visit NIPSCO.com/Save for more information on available programs and other ways to save.
About NIPSCO: Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO), with headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana, has proudly served the energy needs of northern Indiana for more than 100 years. As Indiana’s largest natural gas distribution company and the second-largest electric distribution company, NIPSCO serves approximately 859,000 natural gas and 483,000 electric customers across 32 counties. NIPSCO is part of NiSource’s (NYSE: NI) six regulated utility companies. NiSource is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.7 million natural gas and electric customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about NIPSCO and NiSource is available at NIPSCO.com and NiSource.com.
About NiSource: NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.2 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across six states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. Based in Merrillville, Indiana, NiSource's approximately 7,500 employees are focused on safely delivering reliable and affordable energy to our customers and communities we serve. NiSource is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index - North America. Additional information about NiSource, its investments in modern infrastructure and systems, its commitments and its local brands can be found at www.nisource.com. Follow us at www.facebook.com/nisource, www.linkedin.com/company/nisource or www.twitter.com/nisourceinc. NI-F
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Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the projections, forecasts, estimates and expectations discussed in this press release include, among other things, our ability to execute our business plan or growth strategy, including utility infrastructure investments; potential incidents and other operating risks associated with our business; our ability to adapt to, and manage costs related to, advances in, or failures of, technology; impacts related to our aging infrastructure; our ability to obtain sufficient insurance coverage and whether such coverage will protect us against significant losses; the success of our electric generation strategy; construction risks and natural gas costs and supply risks; fluctuations in demand from residential and commercial customers; fluctuations in the price of energy commodities and related transportation costs or an inability to obtain an adequate, reliable and cost-effective fuel supply to meet customer demands; the attraction and retention of a qualified, diverse workforce and ability to maintain good labor relations; our ability to manage new initiatives and organizational changes; the actions of activist stockholders; the performance of third-party suppliers and service providers; potential cybersecurity-attacks; increased requirements and costs related to cybersecurity; any damage to our reputation; any remaining liabilities or impact related to the sale of the Massachusetts Business; the impacts of natural disasters, potential terrorist attacks or other catastrophic events; the physical impacts of climate change and the transition to a lower carbon future; our ability to manage the financial and operational risks related to achieving our carbon emission reduction goals; our debt obligations; any changes to our credit rating or the credit rating of certain of our subsidiaries; any adverse effects related to our equity units; adverse economic and capital market conditions or increases in interest rates; economic regulation and the impact of regulatory rate reviews; our ability to obtain expected financial or regulatory outcomes; continuing and potential future impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic; economic conditions in certain industries; the reliability of customers and suppliers to fulfill their payment and contractual obligations; the ability of our subsidiaries to generate cash; pension funding obligations; potential impairments of goodwill; the outcome of legal and regulatory proceedings, investigations, incidents, claims and litigation; potential remaining liabilities related to the Greater Lawrence Incident; compliance with applicable laws, regulations and tariffs; compliance with environmental laws and the costs of associated liabilities; changes in taxation; and other matters set forth in Part I, Item 1, "Business," Item 1A, "Risk Factors" and Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," of the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, and matters set forth in our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2023 and June 30, 2023, some of which risks are beyond our control.
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