Public comment sought on NIPSCO natural-gas project
Post-Tribune staff report November 8, 2013 12:00AM
Updated: December 9, 2013 11:01AM
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor will accept written comments from NIPSCO customers on the utility’s $713 million plan for natural-gas transmission, distribution and storage system improvements through Jan. 10.
The project aims to replace aging infrastructure, install new transmission mains and automated valves, and expand into rural areas that do not have natural-gas service. To recover costs, NIPSCO has proposed a 1 percent natural-gas rate increase in 2015, with annual increases — between 1.5 and 1.9 percent — from 2016 through 2020. The average annual increase is projected to be 1.4 percent.
Consumers can submit written comments through Jan. 10 via the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, by email at email@example.com, by fax at (317) 232-5923 or by mail to Consumer Services Staff, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
This case is separate from NIPSCO’s proposed $1.07 billion electric infrastructure improvement plan, which could increase electric rates by an average of 0.9 percent annually.
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will hold a technical evidentiary hearing Feb. 10 at the PNC Center in Indianapolis. The hearing is open to the public, but participation is typically limited to attorney and commission questioning of expert witnesses who have filed technical testimony.
Several additional parties have formally intervened in the case and are also expected to file testimony, including NIPSCO industrial customers ArcelorMittal USA and BP Products North America, Inc.
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission must issue a final order in this case by May 1.