Consumer agency looks to reduce planned NIPSCO rate hike


By: Associated Press

(Source: License:

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — A state agency that represents consumers wants Indiana regulators to significantly reduce a utility’s proposed rate increase.

The Northern Indiana Public Service Co. has proposed an increase that could raise a typical customer’s electric bill by 11.5 percent.

The (Munster) Times reports that the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor wants the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to reduce NIPSCO’s request to nearly one-tenth of the $126.6 million sought in new annual operating revenues.

Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler says the utility is financially healthy after a 2011 rate hike. NIPSCO has said it needs the rate increase to pay for more recent upgrades.

The utility is also seeking approval for $1.3 billion in electric system upgrades that could potentially raise customer bills by an additional 7 percent by 2022.