More pushback against NIPSCO’s proposed natural gas hike

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Some residents are protesting a utility’s request for a nearly 23 percent increase in natural gas rates for its 820,000 customers across northern Indiana.

More than a dozen people spoke against Northern Indiana Public Service Co.’s proposal during a public hearing Monday night in Fort Wayne. Residents argued the rate increase would be unfair to lower-income households and was too large in a short time.

The Merrillville-based utility says its base gas rates haven’t gone up in more than 20 years and plans to phase in the increase over the next two years. It says more than $400 million is needed to improve pipeline reliability and safety.

Another public hearing will be Jan. 3 in Merrillville, along with one not yet scheduled in South Bend.

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