NIPSCO forecasts slightly higher gas heating bills this winter

Contributed By:The 411 News

Expanded, flexible payment options and assistance funds are available

NIPSCO natural gas residential customers can expect their overall bills during this year’s winter heating season to be slightly higher when compared to last year.

NIPSCO Director of Communications Wendy Lussier said, “The slight difference is largely due to the higher overall cost of natural gas – although the commodity cost of natural gas remains near historic lows.”

Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1 to March 31 — NIPSCO’s average natural gas residential customers using the system average of 627 therms total could expect to pay approximately $425 in total. In comparison, last year’s average bill for the same five months, with a normal usage pattern, would have been approximately $400. This represents about a $25 difference (6 percent) or $5 per month on average for the five total months.

Lussier said NIPSCO is the lowest-cost natural gas provider in Indiana for the last 10 years, among the state’s 22 provider companies

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,” Lussier said, “NIPSCO passes it directly through to customers with no markup. The cost of all components of NIPSCO’s gas service is reviewed and approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).”

Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties, including those economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 Agreements: NIPSCO has expanded its flexible payment arrangements to allow customers to spread their past due balance over six months by paying a portion of their past due balance, plus current charges incurred. LIHEAP-eligible customers may be able to enroll in a 12-month plan. Customers can learn more and enroll at NIPSCO.com/paymentplans.

Partial Payment Plans: NIPSCO offers payment plans that will help customers make smaller, more manageable payments now to make it easier to bring their account current in the future. Customers can visit myaccount.nipsco.com to review available payment plans. NIPSCO's customer care team will also work with customers to set up a personalized payment plan. Customers can call 1-800-4-NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726) to discuss options.

Local, State and Federal Assistance: Customers that have been directly impacted by COVID-19-related job loss or hardship, can visit NIPSCO.com/Assistance to find additional resources or call their local community action agency or Energy Assistance Program (EAP) agency or Township Trustee's office. These agencies can help customers access local and federal assistance including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

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.

For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit Customers can learn more and enroll at NIPSCO.com/paymentplans.

Energy- and Money-Saving Programs: Energy 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 and tips available to NIPSCO customers can be found at NIPSCO.com/save.

Story Posted:10/06/2020

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