Natural gas market prices will cause potentially higher winter heating bills compared to last year, according to NIPSCO. 

NIPSCO says that due to current market price projections for natural gas and assuming normal winter weather, its natural gas customers could expect to see increased costs this winter compared to last year, which it says is a trend across much of the country. 

Each year, NIPSCO and other Indiana energy providers provide a forecast for home heating bills during the upcoming cold weather season. Projections take into account market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, and are based on normal weather projections. NIPSCO says  if temperatures are colder or warmer than normal, usage amounts and bills could differ.

NIPSCO says it is actively working to institute technologies and other system improvements to create long-term efficiencies for the benefit of customers.

Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1 to March 31 — NIPSCO’s average natural gas residential customers using 630 therms could expect to pay approximately $590 total. This compares to $422 last winter, and it represents about a $168 difference (40 percent) or $34 per month on average from November to March.

The company says there are many factors contributing to the anticipated increase in costs this winter, including that natural gas market prices are 92 percent higher than last winter and U.S. storage balances are behind last year’s total and the five-year average storage balance at this time of year. Global demand for natural gas and a ramp up in industry operation is also putting pressure on the supply of natural gas.In addition, the lowered storage balances have driven up pricing in the short-term.

NIPSCO says the winter bill projections provided do not relate to NIPSCO’s recent request made with the IURC in September to increase its natural gas base rates. That request will go through a comprehensive regulatory review process and any changes will not take effect until after a decision is made, which is expected in the second half of 2022.