NIPSCO anticipates low winter heating bills
Post-Tribune staff report October 10, 2012 12:44PM
Updated: November 12, 2012 11:52AM
NIPSCO projects that its customers will pay an average of $2 less on their winter heating bills compared to last year.
The company examines weather predictions, market forecasts, supply trends, and storage opportunities to calculate a winter bill projection to prepare customers for the winter season. If normal winter temperatures hold, the projections will be about the lowest in a decade, and slightly lower — by 0.56 percent — than last year’s bills.
The estimate covers the five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1 to March 31. For an average residential customer using a total of 624 therms, the bill may be around $438, compared to $40 for last winter. NIPSCO typically sees its highest energy usage in January and February and bills tend to average around $107 in those months.
“Market prices for natural gas continue to hold at historically low levels thanks in large part to plentiful domestic resources,” said NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley. “This is great for our customers, especially as we head into the winter heating season, when utility bills typically reach their highest point of the year.”
The cost of natural gas typically accounts for about two-thirds of an overall bill. While winter bill amounts are projected to be relatively flat compared to last winter, the company expects usage amounts to be slightly higher. Last winter’s usage amounts were lower than normal due to unseasonably warmer temperatures.
Natural gas, propane and electricity prices are relatively low because of an increase in domestic natural gas production over the last five years. Natural gas is used to generate about one-third of the nation’s electricity and is instrumental in setting the price of electricity.
Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties may call NIPSCO’s 24-hour Customer Care Center at (800) 464-7726 to determine what options might be available to offer help.