Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) Wednesday released information on a projected increase in winter heating bills for gas customers. The following is the news release released by NIPSCO:
MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – Due to current market price projections for natural gas and assuming normal winter weather, NIPSCO natural gas residential customers could expect their winter heating bills this season to be higher when compared to last year. This is in line with trends across much of the country.
Each year, NIPSCO and other Indiana energy companies provide a forecast for home heating bills during the upcoming winter months. Projections consider market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, and they are based on normal weather projections. If temperatures are colder or warmer than normal, usage amounts and bills could differ.
NIPSCO has been among the lowest natural gas cost providers in Indiana on average over the last 10 years according to Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission comparisons (Source: IURC’s 2022 Residential Bill Survey). Managing costs related to the delivery of natural gas to homes and businesses is essential, and NIPSCO is working to institute technologies and other system improvements to create long-term efficiencies for the benefit of customers.
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 – which is largely dependent upon market prices – NIPSCO does not control these costs. The company passes them directly through to customers with no markup and does not profit on that portion of the bill. Before billing, natural gas commodity costs must be reviewed and approved by the IURC.
Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 — NIPSCO’s average natural gas residential customers using 615 therms could expect to pay approximately $661 total. This compares to $559 during the same period last year, and it represents about a $102 difference (18 percent) or $20.40 per month on average from Nov. to Mar.
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 by purchasing gas throughout the summer months and putting that gas into storage for use during the winter months.
Future Natural Gas Market Prices Projected
By purchasing supplies over time, this smooths out the peaks and valleys of natural gas prices and provides more price stability for our customers. NIPSCO’s gas distribution system consists of two on-system storage facilities and connects to seven interstate pipelines providing access to major North American supply basins. There are a multitude of factors contributing to the anticipated increase in costs this winter season, including natural gas market prices are 24 percent higher than last winter. Current market prices are higher than last year due to lower production volumes than previous years, greater global demand due to European energy supply concerns, and storage balances that are behind last year’s total and five-year average at this time of year
Billing and Payment Options
Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to visit nipsco.com/assistance or call NIPSCO’s Customer Care Center as soon as possible to determine what options might be available to offer help. Some of those solutions include:
- Payment Plans: Flexible payment plans are available for customers that need financial support, including a three-month or six-month option for all customers, and a 12-month option for eligible LIHEAP customers. Customers can learn more and enroll at NIPSCO.com/paymentplans. NIPSCO’s customer care team will also work with customers to set up a personalized payment plan. Customers can call 1-800-4-NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726) to discuss options.
- Payment Assistance Programs: Based on income levels, customers may qualify to receive local, state and federal utility assistance dollars as well as support funds from separate NIPSCO programs. Customers can visit NIPSCO.com/Assistance to find additional resources, or call their local community action agency, Energy Assistance Program (EAP) agency or Township Trustee’s office.
- 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.
For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/assistance. Customers can review and manage their account via NIPSCO’s new mobile app available for download on iPhone or Android. Those looking to quickly find information 24-hours a day, seven days a week can use NIPSCO’s new 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-Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT.
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, rebates, and tips available to NIPSCO customers can be found at NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy.