NIPSCO predicts lower heating bills this winter

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (WANE) NIPSCO has released it’s annual winter heating forecast and the utility predicts natural gas bills will be about four percent lower than last season in the five month period lasting from November 1 to March 31.

NIPSCO’s average residential customers using a total of 628.1 therms could expect to pay approximately $513.84. By comparison, customers used 747.5 therms totaling $535.83 during the same five months last heating season.

If temperatures are colder than normal, usage amounts and bills could be higher than projected. Last winter’s actual usage amounts were higher than normal due to record-low temperatures during consecutive months. NIPSCO’s projections take into account market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, among other considerations.

“Last winter was one of the coldest on record and customers used more natural gas than normal, yet the abundance of domestic supplies continues to hold down market prices,” said NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley. “The outlook on natural gas costs remains stable for the foreseeable future, which is good news for customers as we head into the winter heating season.”

NIPSCO offers customers several billing and payment options:

Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties 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 Assistance Programs: Based on income levels, customers may qualify to receive state and federal utility assistance dollars as well as support funds from separate NIPSCO programs by visiting their local community action agency.
•    BudgetPlan: A free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly energy bills by spreading out gas costs over an entire year.
•    Payment Arrangements: Allows customers to make an initial payment within four days of the agreement, then spread the remaining unpaid balance over three months, plus current bills as they are due.

For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance.

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