NIPSCO Asking For $20 Yearly Rate Hike

By John W. Davis

July 26, 2010 Updated Jul 26, 2010 at 9:54 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - An extra $20 dollars a year. That is the average gas bill rate hike proposal on the table from NIPSCO.

However, before the proposal is passed, state officials from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has to approve it.

Meanwhile, dozens of consumers gathered Monday night at the Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne for a public hearing on the matter.

Indiana's NewsCenter was there and reports that the biggest fear from consumers was that low-income families would not be able to afford the yearly increase.

In response to that claim, NIPSCO Communications Manager Nick Meyer said the increase would create a flat monthly delivery fee.

Meyer said the new rate design would prevent your bill from being so high in the winter by spreading out costs to the spring and summer.

NIPSCO executives also said the company is not trying to profit from the increase.

They said the money will go to improvement projects and operational and maintenance costs because the last time they raised rates was in 1988.

The plan calls for an average rate increase of $1.67 per month, totaling an increase of $20 per year.

Meanwhile, state officials said they still want input from consumers that did not attend the public hearing.

"Sooner is better than later, but again any comments we get by August 9th, we'll make sure those get into the record that the commission is required by law to review before it makes any final decision in the case," said Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor Spokesman Anthony Swinger.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is not expected to make a ruling until 2011.

However, if the rate increase is passed, the rate hike could co into effect before Winter 2011.

For more information on tonight's meeting and e-mail and postal mail comment addresses visit the related content section of this story.




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