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Public Hearing on 4/22 for NIPSCO Construction Project

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is encouraging Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) customers to comment on the utility’s pending environmental compliance construction case.
 
Consumers may:
 
1. Speak at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) public field hearing on Monday, April 22, 2013, or
2. Send written comments to the OUCC anytime between now and the close of business on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.
 
The April 22 IURC public field hearing will be held in the Lake County Government Center Auditorium in Crown Point (2293 N. Main St.). The OUCC will conduct an informational session on the regulatory process and 5:30 p.m., local time, with the IURC accepting public comments beginning at 6:00 p.m., local time.
 
  • Sworn oral and written comments regarding the case will be accepted during the field hearing.
 
  • Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight and will become part of the case’s official evidentiary record.
 
  • Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after the hearing.)
 
An OUCC informational session on the regulatory process and public field hearing procedures will begin at 5:30 p.m., local time.
 
NIPSCO is asking the IURC to approve its proposed MATS Compliance Plan, which would include the construction, installation and operation of new pollution control equipment at NIPSCO’s Bailly, Michigan City and Schahfer generating stations. The equipment would be installed on seven generating units at the three facilities, and would reduce mercury and particulate matter emissions.
 
In its testimony, the utility states that the project is necessary for compliance with federal regulations, specifically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.
 
NIPSCO is also seeking IURC approval to recover the project’s costs through rates, with rate adjustments to be made every six months. The utility currently estimates the project’s construction costs - not including financing - at approximately $59.2 million.
 
In its testimony, NIPSCO states that it expects the project to add approximately $1.07 to the monthly electric bill for an average residential customer using 688 kilowatt hours (kWh) by 2017.
 
NIPSCO provides electric utility service to approximately 457,000 customers throughout northern Indiana. The outcome of this case will only affect the utility’s electric rates, and will not affect NIPSCO’s natural gas rates and charges.
 
The OUCC – which represents consumer interests in cases before the IURC – is still evaluating this case and is scheduled to file testimony on May 7, 2013. Additional parties that have intervened in this case – including the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC) and the NIPSCO Industrial Group – are also scheduled to file testimony on May 7.
 
More information on this case is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2740.htm.
 
Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:
 
  • Mail: Consumer Services Staff
    Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
    115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
 
  • Fax: (317) 232-5923
 
Written comments the OUCC receives by May 1 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44311.”
 
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff
toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
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