The Indiana-based gas utility for CenterPoint Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNP) in Texas is requesting a rate increase for its natural gas service territory. Indiana Gas Company says the request would be its first rate increase in 13 years and follows the completion of a seven-year, $725 million natural gas pipeline modernization plan.
CenterPoint Energy says the pipeline project led to a 33% reduction in methane emissions since 2013. The rate increase request, filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, seeks to recover about 20% of the cost of the project.
“Through these infrastructure investments, CenterPoint Energy is committed to complying with federal mandates and continuing to safely and reliably deliver natural gas service to our customers,” said Richard Leger, vice president of natural gas distribution in Indiana and Ohio for CenterPoint. “While our natural gas customers may experience an increase to their bills, it will be the first time in 13 years we have pursued such recovery.”
CenterPoint says if the request is approved by the IURC, the average residential gas customer could see an increase of approximately less than $3 per month. The utility is also requesting a continuation of natural gas efficiency programs through 2025 and its income-eligible universal service program.
“Since inception of the programs, customers have saved approximately 194 million therms of natural gas, or enough energy to heat 241,000 homes for a year, which also contributed to more than 1,139,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions saved,” said Leger. “Energy efficiency programs are another way we strive to give customers the opportunity to reduce their energy usage and therefore lower their bill, while also lowering emissions.”
The utility says, because of lower natural gas commodity costs, customers’ total annual bills would be about $350 lower than 2008 when the current rates were approved.
If the request is approved, the new rates may go into effect during the fourth quarter of 2021.
CenterPoint’s gas territory covers more than 50 counties in north central, central and southeastern Indiana.