NIPSCO today announced its forecast for home heating bills this upcoming winter heating season. Compared to last winter, NIPSCO projections indicate that natural gas bills for residential customers will be approximately four percent lower.
Over the course of the five-month winter heating season – Nov. 1 to March 31 – NIPSCO’s average residential customers using a total of 628.1 therms could expect to pay approximately $513.84. By comparison, customers used 747.5 therms totaling $535.83 during the same five months last year.
If temperatures are colder than normal, usage amounts and bills could be higher than projected. Last winter’s actual usage amounts were higher than normal due to record-low temperatures during consecutive months. NIPSCO’s projections take into account market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, among other considerations.
“Last winter was one of the coldest on record and customers used more natural gas than normal, yet the abundance of domestic supplies continues to hold down market prices,” said NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley. “The outlook on natural gas costs remains stable for the foreseeable future, which is good news for customers as we head into the winter heating season.”
NIPSCO is one of the lowest natural gas bill providers in Indiana, according to bill comparisons released monthly by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).
The cost of natural gas represents the largest portion of customer bills – on average, two-thirds of an overall bill. NIPSCO has no mark-up and makes no profit on the cost of natural gas billed to its customers. Before billing, natural gas commodity costs must be reviewed by the IURC.
While NIPSCO cannot control market conditions affecting the price of natural gas, the utility does negotiate the best possible price for the natural gas it purchases for its customers.
NIPSCO’s purchasing strategy is a multi-faceted approach that consists of buying gas in the market from a variety of supply sources at different times throughout the year. The ability to utilize gas storage helps to offset market price volatility.
NIPSCO’s gas distribution system consists of three on-system storage facilities and connects to seven interstate pipelines providing access to eight major North American supply basins.
Billing and Payment Options
Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to call NIPSCO’s 24-hour Customer Care Center as soon as possible to determine what options might be available to offer help. Some of those solutions include:
Payment Assistance Programs: Based on income levels, customers may qualify to receive state and federal utility assistance dollars as well as support funds from separate NIPSCO programs by visiting their local community action agency.
BudgetPlan: A free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly energy bills by spreading out gas costs over an entire year.
Payment Arrangements: Allows customers to make an initial payment within four days of the agreement, then spread the remaining unpaid balance over three months, plus current bills as they are due.
For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance.
Energy and Money Saving Programs
Through NIPSCO’s energy efficiency programs, customers can pinpoint ways to manage their energy usage, and in turn their bills. A full list of programs available to NIPSCO customers to help manage energy use can be found at NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy.