Utilities predict small jump in Ind. heating bills

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Two of Indiana's largest natural gas utilities are projecting small increase in heating bills for this winter.

Vectren officials say that if the state sees normal winter weather, bills should be about 3 percent or about $3 more per month for its customers in central and southern Indiana.

Meanwhile, Citizens Energy Group in Indianapolis projects typical gas bills for residential customers will increase less than 2 percent.

Vectren division president Mike Roeder says its natural gas customers have seen year-over-year winter bills decline over the past four years with falling gas prices. He says gas prices have since moved up modestly.

The utility estimates an average household cost of $530 for the five-month heating season of November through March. That's down from $750 or more during the winter of 2008-2009.