MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (WANE) NIPSCO announced Wednesday that it has filed a request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to raise its natural gas base rates. The natural gas utility has 859,000 customers in 32 counties according to a news release detailing rate hike request.

NIPSCO says the rate hike is largely necessary because it needs to upgrade its system to meet federal safety and compliance regulations which will cost an estimated $1.1 billion.

Based on NIPSCO’s proposal, an average natural gas residential customer would see an estimated overall increase of approximately $8 per month, or 10.6 percent above projected bills at the time of implementation. Newly approved rates would be spread over two steps, with the second step occurring no later than March 2025.

NIPSCO stressed that it does not mark up the price it pays for natural gas used by homes and businesses, and customers pay the same dollar-for-dollar cost NIPSCO pays. The cost of natural gas is one of the largest determining factors of gas customers’ bills.

According to NIPSCO, the proposed increase will undergo a thorough and nearly yearlong
regulatory review process that will allow for public input from NIPSCO customers.