Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Co. says natural gas customers could see an increase in their winter heating bill this year. NIPSCO, which serves about 850,000 natural gas customers, says the potential increase is based on current market price projections and the assumption of normal winter weather.
The utility says there are several factors that contribute to expected increases this winter, including natural gas market prices, which are 24% higher than last winter. The higher prices are due to lower production volumes compared to previous years, as well as greater global demand due to European energy supply concerns and lagging storage balances, which the utility says are behind last year’s total and the five-year average at this time of year.
Over the five-month winter season, which lasts from Nov. 1 to March 31, NIPSCO says average natural gas residential customers using 615 therms can expect to pay about $661 total, compared to $559 during the same period last year. The increase represents an 18% difference, or about $20.40 per month.
The utility’s natural gas bills are composed of two main components: the cost of the natural gas and the cost of delivering the natural gas to customers.
NIPSCO says its projections align with trends across much of the country.
Earlier this year, the utility received approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to increase its natural gas rates, by about $6 per month, in a two-step process that began in September.