Tell the OUCC: Enough is Enough! No NIPSCO Rate Hike!

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 15:09

 

A settlement was reached in the NIPSCO rate case. If approved, it will raise your monthly fixed charge 27.3% and your energy usage charge 13.9%! This amounts to a monthly bill increase for the average NIPSCO customer of $12.42 or 15.1%.

NIPSCO monthly electric bills have already increased nearly 30% over the last ten years. At the same time, Hoosier households struggle with declining and stagnant wages and significant increases in the cost of energy, health care, food, and other necessities. 

NIPSCO Average Monthly Electric Bills have increased nearly 30% in the last 10 years!

This rate case settlement was reached by NIPSCO, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), NIPSCO’s industrial customers, the Indiana Municipal Utility Group and the United Steelworkers.  CAC was not invited to the table, even though we are a party to the case.

The settlement still requires approval by the IURC to become final.  If approved, it  will harm residential customers in several ways:

 

  • The settlement will raise the fixed monthly charge on your electric bill from $11 to $14. This is the amount  you pay regardless of how much energy you use. NIPSCO originally sought increasing  the monthly fixed charge to $20, but they presented no evidence that an increase in the fixed charge was justified. 

  • The settlement will give NIPSCO a bigger hike on your energy usage charge (per kWh charge) than they originally asked for! When NIPSCO first filed the rate case on October 1, 2015, they were seeking to raise your energy usage charge 12.5% from 9.7¢ per kWh to 10.89¢ per kWh. However the settlement allows NIPSCO to increase your energy usage charge to 11¢ per kWh, a 13.9% increase over current rates!

  • The settlement eliminates the low-income program that NIPSCO proposed in their initial filing. The fact that NIPSCO proposed a low-income program was the only bright spot in the rate case.  NISPCO asked to create a low-income program which will provide a one-time summer discount of $50 to help mitigate the impact of increasing bills on low-income households. All residential customers would have paid a marginal charge of 20¢ per month to help keep the lights on in these homes. While the proposed program was not robust enough, it was a good start to helping the most vulnerable among us.

  • In addition to the rate increase as a result of this settlement, NIPSCO has also filed a $1.33 billion plan for electric transmission and distribution system improvements which NIPSCO claims will raise your rates an additional 0.4% to 1.3% percent per year for the next seven years. They are asking to add a new rider (tracker) to your bill for what is known as a “Transmission, Distribution, and Storage System Improvement Charge,” or TDSIC.

NIPSCO is blaming these rate hikes on reduced energy sales as a result of increasing investments in energy efficiency and customer-owned generation like rooftop solar, as well as reductions in industrial energy usage due to factories closing and/or moving.  

 

Customers should not be penalized for investing their own money to make their business or home more efficient or to generate their own energy! 

NIPSCO Electric Base Rates Comparison 
for the average customer using 698 kilowatt hours of electricity per month

This is the core of your electric bill - what you are charged for fixed costs and usage fees. This part of your NIPSCO bill makes up about 88.6% of your current total NIPSCO bill as of March 1, 2016.
 
Trackers: the other 10.4% of your 
NIPSCO Electric bill not included in "rates"
 
These trackers, also called “riders,” are currently included in your NIPSCO bill and added to the average bill you see above. The amount collected through trackers changes frequently as some are adjusted quarterly, while others change on a semi-annual or annual basis. In addition to the new TDSIC tracker that NIPSCO is also seeking approval of in a separate preceding, NIPSCO is asking to consolidate Riders No. 672 & 673 and also proposes to continue using all of the other trackers. How much the trackers will add to your monthly bill moving forward is unknown to everyone but NIPSCO.
 

 
Total NIPSCO Electric Bill including trackers
 
Take Action Now!
 
Send comments to the OUCC and make your voice heard!
 
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
Attn: David Stippler
115 W. Washington St.
Suite 1500S
Indianapolis, IN 46204 
(888) 441-2494 phone
 

Tell the OUCC and the IURC Regulators:

 
  • You oppose the rate case settlement and the increases in your fixed monthly charge and energy charge.

  • You oppose a new TDSIC tracker. NIPSCO should pay for the day to day operations of their company. 

  • To fight for residential customers to ensure that monthly bills are affordable, just, and reasonable.
 
Make sure to reference Cause Numbers 44688 & 44733 in your comments!

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