Northern Indiana Public Service Company says heating bills this winter may be about one-percent higher than last, assuming normal winter temperatures. In its annual forecast announced Tuesday, NIPSCO said the average residential customer using a total of 624 therms over the course of the five-month winter heating season, November first through March 31st, could expect to pay about 437-dollars, four-dollars more than a customer using the same amount of natural gas last winter.
Here is more information from NIPSCO:
Over the course of the five-month winter heating season – Nov. 1 to March 31 – NIPSCO’s average residential customers using a total of 624 therms could expect to pay approximately $437. This compares to $433 for a customer using the same amount of gas during last winter.
NIPSCO’s projections take into market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, among other considerations.
NIPSCO has among the lowest residential gas bills in Indiana, according to bill comparisons released monthly by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).
Actual bills vary by customer depending on the home’s age and size, number in the household, number and age of gas appliances, thermostat settings and insulation levels.
“Natural gas continues to be one of the lowest-cost, most reliable and abundant energy sources for customers,” said NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley. “The outlook on natural gas prices and domestic supplies remain stable for the foreseeable future, which is great news as we head toward the winter heating season.”
While winter bill amounts are projected to be relatively flat compared to last winter, the company expects usage amounts to be slightly higher. Last winter’s actual usage amounts were lower than normal due to warmer temperatures during some months.
The cost of natural gas represents the largest portion of customer bills – on average, two-thirds of an overall bill. NIPSCO has no mark-up and makes no profit on the cost of natural gas billed to its customers. Before billing, natural gas commodity costs must be reviewed by the IURC.
While NIPSCO cannot control market conditions affecting the price of natural gas, the utility does negotiate the best possible price for the natural gas it purchases for its customers.
NIPSCO’s purchasing strategy is a multi-faceted approach that consists of buying gas in the market from a variety of supply sources at different times throughout the year. The ability to utilize gas storage helps to offset market price volatility.
NIPSCO’s gas distribution system consists of three on-system storage facilities and connects to seven interstate pipelines providing access to eight major North American supply basins.
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.
BudgetPlan: 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/PaymentAssistance.
Energy and Money Saving Programs
Through NIPSCO’s energy efficiency programs, customers can pinpoint ways to manage their energy usage, and in turn their bills. A full list of programs available to NIPSCO customers to help manage energy use can be found at NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy.
Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has served the energy needs of Northern Indiana since 1912. Headquartered in Merrillville, NIPSCO is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc (NYSE: NI). With more than 821,000 natural gas customers and 468,000 electric customers, NIPSCO is the largest natural gas distribution company, and the second largest electric distribution company, in the state. NiSource distribution companies serve 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers primarily in seven states. More information about NIPSCO is available at NIPSCO.com.