Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Co. has reached a settlement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor regarding a proposed natural gas rate increase. If approved, NIPSCO says the settlement will lead to customers seeing an average overall monthly increase of $8 on their bills.
NIPSCO originally made the proposal in September. Under the terms of that proposal, the average residential customer would have seen an overall increase of $10 per month. The utility said it was looking to generate additional funds to cover the costs of infrastructure upgrades.
Per the terms of the settlement, customers will see a $3 increase in the fixed monthly customer charge, which is lower than the proposed $8.50 increase. The new rates will also include the lower tax rate created by the federal tax reform bill.
"This agreement provides a fair and equitable resolution in this case, mitigating the rate increase while ensuring that the utility will have the revenues needed to complete numerous upgrades needed throughout its gas transmission and distribution system," said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Bill Fine. "Our attorneys and technical experts have dedicated a substantial amount of time to this case over the last several months, leading to the negotiations that have resulted in the agreement."
The settlement remains subject to approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. If approved, the new rates would be phased in over two years, with the first phase coming in the fourth quarter of 2018.
NIPSCO says the settlement will not affect electric rates.