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Those who wish to weigh in on the request may submit written comments, either by mail, fax, or email, or through the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm.
•Email: uccinfo@oucc.in.gov
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Planned NIPSCO update to hike rates 9.8%

NIPSCO has filed a $713 million plan to modernize its current infrastructure that would result in a rate increase of 9.8 percent during the next seven years, officials said.

The rate increase would be installed in annual, average increments of about 1.4 percent, said Nick Meyer, a spokesman for Northern Indiana Public Service Co.

Customers would see little to no change in their natural gas bills for the first two years of the plan, with no change in 2014 and a 1 percent annual increase in 2015.

The average residential NIPSCO gas bill of $52.22 would increase to $57.76 by 2020, said Kathleen Szot, a NIPSCO spokeswoman.

Customers would not see an increase until 2015, she said.

According to figures from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, NIPSCO consumers pay $37.05 for 50 therms of natural gas, while other Indiana companies charge an average of $53.63 for the same amount.

“We are proud to be among the lowest cost natural gas providers in Indiana. And, this plan helps to ensure a safe and modern natural gas system for the future, while continuing to maintain competitive rates for customers,” NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley said.

The project includes installing pipeline, replacing low pressure systems, supplying natural gas to rural areas and upgrading lines and gas valves throughout northern Indiana.

“We have a strong system, but must modernize it for the future,” Meyer said.

The technical and legal staff of the state Office of Utility Consumer Counselor will review of NIPSCO’s request before it is filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Jan. 10, the OUCC’s Anthony Swinger said.

The IURC has the final say over the proposed increase.

NIPSCO’s last gas increase was nearly 3 percent or $1.67 in 2010. The gas company has 790,000 natural gas users in 32 counties across northern Indiana.

For more information about the project, go to NIPSCO.com/modernize.

vsade@jg.net

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