Dec. 1—INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, is inviting written consumer comments for the official case record through mid-January.
In addition, the IURC will host public field hearings in the case, a news release stated.
NIPSCO's request would raise an average monthly residential electric bill, at 668 kilowatt hours, from $107.78 to $127.21 under a two-phase increase taking effect in September 2023 and March 2024. The bill would then rise to $133.43 under a new "tracker," or rate adjustment mechanism, that would gradually raise rates beginning in July 2024.
Public comments are invited in writing through Jan. 13, 2023. Consumers who wish to submit written comments for the case record may do so via the OUCC's website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, by email at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov, or by mail at Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
The OUCC needs to receive all written consumer comments no later than Jan. 13, 2023, so that it can: 1) Consider comments in preparing its testimony, and, 2) file them with the Commission to be included in the case's formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer's name, mailing address, and a reference to either "IURC Cause No. 45772" or NIPSCO Electric Rates. Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC's consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
The IURC's public field hearings on NIPSCO's request are scheduled for Dec. 12 Purdue University Northwest, Student Union and Library Building — Alumni Hall, 2233 173rd St., Hammond, and Jan. 4, 2023, in Valparaiso High School — Auditorium, 2727 North Campbell St.
Each hearing will begin at 6 p.m. local time. Consumers are encouraged to arrive by 5:45 p.m. for an overview of field hearing procedures and the rate case process. Attendees are required to comply with all local health and safety regulations. No final decisions about the case will be made at the hearings.
The sole purpose of each field hearing is to receive public testimony. Consumers can speak directly to the Commission under oath and on the record. Oral comments presented during the field hearings will become part of the case record. They will carry the same weight as written consumer comments submitted to the OUCC by Jan. 13, the release added.
Utilities do not make presentations or answer questions during field hearings. The focus, again, is on public input. In this case, NIPSCO filed testimony and exhibits in September 2022. Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions about the case. They will ultimately render a decision after weighing evidence from the utility, the OUCC, and intervening parties.
The OUCC is posting case updates online at www.in.gov/oucc/electric/key-cases-by-utility/nipsco-electric-rates/nipsco-electric-rate-case-20222023/. Case updates are also available through the agency's monthly electronic newsletter. Consumers can subscribe at www.in.gov/oucc/news.