State consumer rep takes comment on NIPSCO rate plan

2013-07-24T14:36:00Z 2013-11-07T10:06:09Z State consumer rep takes comment on NIPSCO rate planBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is taking public comment on NIPSCO's proposed $1 billion electric modernization plan and the about 1 percent annual rate increases that go with it.

The public can comment via phone, fax, mail or the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor's Web site. Written consumer comments received by Oct. 4 will be filed with state regulators who will consider the comments in deciding on NIPSCO's request.

The Office of Utility Consumer Counselor has also established a Web page at http://www.in.gov/oucc/2747.htm where consumers can learn more about NIPSCO's application for the improvement plan and rate increase.

The rate increase would come in the form of six years of surcharges tacked on to customer bills. NIPSCO's request was made possible by Senate Bill 560, which allows utilities to submit seven-year infrastructure improvement plans for approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has until Feb. 14 to issue an order in the case.

NIPSCO's testimony in the case states the improvements are necessary to ensure reliable service for customers. Much of the equipment to be replaced, such as poles and transformers, is more than 40 years old.

According to the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, under NIPSCO's plan customers would see their first electric rate increase of approximately 0.4 percent in 2015. The annual rate increase amounts would grow over the course of the plan, reaching 1.7 percent in 2020. The average annual percentage increase is 0.9 percent.

The Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is the state's officially designated consumer advocate in all cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

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