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24% Lower Heating Bills Expected For 2023-24

NIPSCO announced that natural gas residential customers can expect a decline in their winter heating bills this season compared to previous years. Based on current market projections and assuming normal winter weather, bills for natural gas residential customers are estimated to be 24 percent lower in contrast to cost at this same period in 2022, and 11 percent lower compared to the same period in 2021.

Each year, NIPSCO and other Indiana energy companies provide a forecast for home heating bills during the upcoming winter months. Projections are based on market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, as well as normal weather forecasts. If temperatures are colder or warmer than normal, usage amounts and bills could differ.

Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 — NIPSCO’s average natural gas residential customers using 636 therms could expect to pay approximately $515 total. This compares to $681 during the winter heating season last year and it represents about a $166 decrease (24 percent) or $33.20 per month on average from Nov. to Mar.

There are two primary components of natural gas bills – the cost of the natural gas itself and the cost of delivering the natural gas to customers. For the cost of natural gas itself – which is largely dependent upon market prices – NIPSCO does not control these costs. The company passes them directly through to customers with no markup and does not profit on that portion of the bill. Natural gas commodity costs must be reviewed and approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

To help ensure customers receive the best price for natural gas, NIPSCO purchases gas in the market from a variety of supply sources throughout the year. Gas storage is also used to help offset market price volatility by purchasing gas throughout the summer months and putting that gas into storage for use during the winter months.

Purchasing supplies over time levels out the peaks and valleys of natural gas prices and provides more price stability for our customers. NIPSCO’s gas distribution system consists of two on-system storage facilities and connects to seven interstate pipelines providing access to major North American supply basins.

There are several factors contributing to the anticipated decrease in costs this winter season, including natural gas market prices are 51 percent lower than last winter. Current market prices are lower than last year due to increased production levels, lower exports due to softening European demand, and filling storage at substantially lower prices than previous years.

Managing costs to ensure the delivery of natural gas to homes and businesses without compromising safety, reliability and integrity is vital, and NIPSCO is improving its systems and implementing technologies to create long-term efficiencies for the benefit of customers.

Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to visit nipsco.com/assistance or call NIPSCO’s Customer Care Center at 1-800-464-7726 as soon as possible to determine what options might be available for their situation.

Some of those solutions include:

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): LIHEAP support is available to households that are at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income (SMI). Customers can learn more and find out if they qualify at eap.ihcda.in.gov or call 2-1-1. Applications are taken through May 20, 2024, at 5p.m. EST.
  • Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) Discount Program: In addition to the assistance available through LIHEAP, the NIPSCO CARE program is designed to provide further bill reductions to LIHEAP-approved customers. Once enrolled in LIHEAP, customers are automatically enrolled in the program, and reductions range from 11 to 26 percent, depending on the same criteria used by the state in determining the level of assistance.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: Payment Agreements: NIPSCO has expanded its payment plan agreements to offer its most flexible payment plans to customers that need financial support, including three-, six- and 12-month plans. Customers can learn more and enroll at NIPSCO.com/PaymentPlans. 
  • Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance (IERA) Program: IERA provides financial assistance for rent and utility payments for Indiana residents whose income has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Customers can learn more and find if they qualify by calling 2-1-1.
  • Township Trustees: A limited amount of energy assistance funds are available through local Township Trustee offices. NIPSCO customers are encouraged to contact their local Township Trustee to see what help may be available.
  • Budget Plan: A free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly energy bills by spreading out gas costs over an entire year. Learn more at NIPSCO.com/budget.

For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/assistance. Customers looking to quickly find information 24-hours a day, seven days a week can use NIPSCO’s Chat feature located in the bottom right-hand corner of its website (NIPSCO.com) or via the mobile app. Customers may also contact the NIPSCO Customer Care Center at 1-800-4-NIPSCO Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT.

Energy- and Money-Saving Programs

Usage makes up the largest portion of the average energy bill. Because of this, NIPSCO offers energy-efficiency programs to help manage usage and, in turn, bills. A full list of programs, rebates, and tips available to NIPSCO customers can be found at NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO), with headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana, has proudly served the energy needs of northern Indiana for more than 100 years. As Indiana’s largest natural gas distribution company and the second-largest electric distribution company, NIPSCO serves approximately 850,000 natural gas and 483,000 electric customers across 32 counties. NIPSCO is part of NiSource’s (NYSE: NI) six regulated utility companies. NiSource is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.7 million natural gas and electric customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about NIPSCO and NiSource is available at NIPSCO.com and NiSource.com.

The Waynedale News Staff
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