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NIPSCO Forecasts Winter Heating Bills for Natural Gas Customers

October 10, 2018
By

NIPSCO_logoEach year, NIPSCO and other energy providers in Indiana and across the nation provide a forecast for home heating bills during the upcoming five-month winter heating season from November through March.

NIPSCO projects, assuming normal winter weather, natural gas residential customers can expect their overall bills during the winter heating season to be approximately $7.50 more each month.  The primary reason for the difference is the newly approved natural gas rates that took effect Oct. 1, as the commodity cost of natural gas itself is expected to remain flat to slightly less than last winter.

NIPSCO Winter Bill Projections
2018–2019
(projected)
2017–2018 Usage (therms)
$49 $42 58
$80 $71 111
$104 $93 160
$109 $102 169
$81 $78 124
Total $423* $386 622
* Note: Actual bills vary by customers depending on the home’s age and size, number in the household, number and age of gas appliances, thermostat settings and insulation levels.

Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1 to March 31 — NIPSCO’s average natural gas residential customers using the system average of 622 therms could expect to pay approximately $423 in total. This compares to about $386 last winter.

By comparison, five years ago during the 2013/2014 winter heating season, customers spent a total of $536 for the same five winter months.

There are two primary components of natural gas bills – the cost of the natural gas itself and the cost of delivering the natural gas to customers.  For the cost of natural gas itself, NIPSCO passes it directly through to customers with no markup.  The cost of all components of NIPSCO’s gas service is reviewed and approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

Projections take into account market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, and are based on normal weather projections. If temperatures are colder or warmer than normal, usage amounts and bills could differ.

To help ensure customers receive the best price for natural gas, NIPSCO purchases gas in the market from a variety of supply sources throughout the year.  Gas storage is also used to help offset market price volatility. NIPSCO’s gas distribution system consists of two on-system storage facilities and is connected to seven interstate pipelines providing access to major North American supply basins.

Additionally, NIPSCO continues to be among the lowest natural gas cost providers in Indiana (Source: Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Residential Natural Gas Bill Surveys).

Billing and Payment Options
Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to call NIPSCO’s 24-hour Customer Care Center as soon as possible to determine what options might be available to offer help. Some of those solutions include:

·        Payment Assistance Programs: Based on income levels, customers may qualify to receive state and federal utility assistance dollars as well as support funds from separate NIPSCO programs by visiting their local community action agency.
·        Budget Plan: A free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly energy bills by spreading out gas costs over an entire year.
·        Payment Arrangements: Allows customers to make an initial payment within four days of the agreement, then spread the remaining unpaid balance over three months, plus current bills as they are due.

For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/BillingPayment.

Energy- and Money-Saving Programs
Usage makes up the largest portion of the average energy bill. Because of this, NIPSCO offers energy-efficiency programs to help manage usage and, in turn, bills. A full list of programs and tips available to NIPSCO customers can be found at NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy.

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