- Infrastructure modernization
- Economic development and job creation-related projects
- System improvements that directly benefit customers and communities
“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.”
How will residential customer bills change?
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.
Service to customers has continued to improve, and NIPSCO has furthered its commitment to customers in several ways in recent years, including:
- Safety enhancements:
- 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.