NIPSCO enviro work could add to customer bills

2013-04-11T12:15:00Z 2013-04-11T17:56:41Z NIPSCO enviro work could add to customer billsBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will host a hearing April 22 on $59.2 million in environmental projects planned at NIPSCO generating plants and the additional customer charges that will pay for them.

The IURC's public field hearing will be at 6 p.m. at the Lake County Government Complex auditorium in Crown Point. It will be preceded by an information session on the regulatory process at 5:30 presented by the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

NIPSCO has asked the IURC for permission to undertake the $59.2 million in projects to clean up mercury and particulate emissions at its Schahfer, Bailly and Michigan City generating stations.

The utility also is asking for permission to pay for the projects through a surcharge on customer bills. NIPSCO says that surcharge would add $1.07 to the monthly electric bill for an average residential customer by 2017.

The company says the projects to clean up mercury and particulate matter are needed to comply with new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on mercury and air toxics.

NIPSCO has 457,000 electric and 786,000 natural gas customers in northern Indiana. The bill surcharges would only be applied to electric bills.

The projects that are the subject of the Crown Point hearing are separate from a $246 million project to clean up other pollutants at the Michigan City generating station and a $510 million project to do the same at Schahfer. NIPSCO has already won approval for those projects and the surcharges that will pay for them.

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