MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (WANE) People who rely on natural gas to heat their homes should see lower bills this winter.
On Wednesday, NIPSCO released its forecast for home heating bills. Based on current market projections and assuming normal winter weather, bills for natural gas residential customers are estimated to be 24 percent lower in contrast to cost at this same period in 2022, and 11 percent lower compared to the same period in 2021.
According to NIPSCO, projections are based on market forecasts, supply trends and storage levels, as well as normal weather forecasts. If temperatures are colder or warmer than normal, usage amounts and bills could differ.
Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 — NIPSCO’s average natural gas residential customers using 636 therms could expect to pay approximately $515 total. This compares to $681 during the winter heating season last year and it represents about a $166 decrease (24 percent) or $33.20 per month on average from November to March.
NIPSCO WINTER GAS BILL COMPARISON
|2023-2024 (PROJECTED)||2022-2023 (ACTUAL)||2021-2022 (ACTUAL)||USAGE (THERMS)|
NIPSCO attributes several factors as contributing to the anticipated decrease in costs this winter season, including natural gas market prices are 51 percent lower than last winter. Current market prices are lower than last year due to increased production levels, lower exports due to softening European demand, and filling storage at substantially lower prices than previous years.
Billing and Payment Options
Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to visit nipsco.com/assistance or call NIPSCO’s Customer Care Center at 1-800-464-7726 to determine what options are available. Some of those solutions include:
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): LIHEAP support is available to households that are at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income (SMI). Customers can learn more and find out if they qualify at eap.ihcda.in.gov or call 211. Applications are taken through May 20, 2024, at 5p.m. EST.
- Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) Discount Program: In addition to the assistance available through LIHEAP, the NIPSCO CARE program is designed to provide further bill reductions to LIHEAP-approved customers. Once enrolled in LIHEAP, customers are automatically enrolled in the program, and reductions range from 11 to 26 percent, depending on the same criteria used by the state in determining the level of assistance.
- Flexible Payment Plans: Payment Agreements: NIPSCO has expanded its payment plan agreements to offer its most flexible payment plans to customers that need financial support, including three-, six- and 12-month plans. Customers can learn more and enroll at NIPSCO.com/PaymentPlans.
- Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance (IERA) Program: IERA provides financial assistance for rent and utility payments for Indiana residents whose income has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Customers can learn more and find if they qualify by calling 211.
- Township Trustees: A limited amount of energy assistance funds are available through local Township Trustee offices. NIPSCO customers are encouraged to contact their local Township Trustee to see what help may be available.
- Budget Plan: A free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly energy bills by spreading out gas costs over an entire year. Learn more at NIPSCO.com/budget.
For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/assistance.