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Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

OUCC > Natural Gas > Natural Gas Cases of Note > NIPSCO Gas Infrastructure Plan NIPSCO Gas Infrastructure Plan

Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has received Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approval of a long-term plan for Natural Gas transmission, distribution and storage system improvements, including incremental rate recovery of those costs as the projects proceed. The utility refers to the program as its Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Plan.

NIPSCO filed its request filed under a law (Senate Enrolled Act 560) passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor's (OUCC's) testimony is summarized in the agency's January 25, 2014 news release. An OUCC news release inviting written consumer comments was issued on November 7, 2013.

The IURC issued an order approving NIPSCO's 7-year gas plan on April 30, 2014.

On August 28, 2014, NIPSCO filed its first rate adjustment request under the approved plan.

  • In testimony, NIPSCO states that the first adjustment would raise a typical residential bill by 8 cents.
  • The OUCC's testimony is due October 27, 2014.
  • A brief summary of the 2013 law

    Indiana Code 8-1-39 allows electric and natural gas utilities to submit 7-year infrastructure improvement plans for IURC approval. It requires the IURC to rule within 210 days once such a request is filed.

    • Once a 7-year plan receives IURC approval, the utility may request incremental rate increases every 6 months to pay for the projects. The rate adjustment is referred to as the Transmission, Distribution and Storage System Improvement Charge (TDSIC). The IURC has 90 days to rule on such a request.

    • TDSIC rate increases are limited to no more than 2 percent of total retail revenues each year.

    • The TDSIC rate mechanism (or tracker) allows the utility to recover 80 percent of the costs as they are incurred. The remaining costs are deferred until the utility's next base rate case, which must be filed before the end of the 7-year period.

     

    NIPSCO's request

    NIPSCO filed its 7-year natural gas system improvement plan on October 3, 2013, in IURC Cause No. 44403. According to the utility's testimony and exhibits:

    • The 7-year plan includes about $713.1 million in capital improvement projects.

    • Projects throughout NIPSCO's natural gas service territory include replacement of aging infrastructure, new transmission mains, the installation of automated valves, and expansion into rural areas that currently do not have natural gas service.

    • If approved by the IURC, construction would start in 2014 with the first rate increase of approximately 1.0 percent taking effect in 2015. The annual rate increase amounts from 2016 through 2020 would vary by year, ranging from 1.5 percent to 1.9 percent each year. The average annual percentage increase over the 7-year term is 1.4 percent.

    NIPSCO has received approval of a 7-year electric infrastructure plan in a separate case.

    All filings in the cases are available by visiting the IURC's Electronic Document System and entering the appropriate docket number.

    9-24-14