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Fort Wayne Hosts Public Hearing For NIPSCO Rate Hike Proposal

Zach Bernard/WBOI News

An Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission hearing was held at the Grand Wayne Center Monday night. The public was invited to comment on a proposed rate increase for NIPSCO customers.

Under the current proposal, customers would see their monthly bill increase by roughly $10 dollars by summer 2018.

According to NIPSCO, the proposed rate hikes are due to increases in operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for system upgrades.

Indiana’s Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, or OUCC, represents consumer interests in the Hoosier State and hosted Monday’s hearing.

Neil Warner lives on Fort Wayne’s west side and attended the hearing on Monday night. He says he’s been diligent about managing his utilities over the years, and shouldn’t be punished with a fixed increase.

“I’ve done my part. I’ve conserved as much gas as I can,” said Warner. “We should see a smaller increase driven by usage is how I believe this should be addressed.”

Peggy Didrick is a senior citizen who questioned why NIPSCO has chosen to raise rates at such a high rate now, instead of doing it in smaller rates over time.

“I mean there’s people on the streets. There’s people who can’t afford to heat their homes right now,” Didrich said. “And to increase 20 percent on everyone… more will need assistance, and where will that lead us?”

This was the first of several public hearings that will be held across the state on the rate hike; the next one will be held at Merrillville High School. The OUCC is also accepting comments on the hike until January 17.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered, and hosted Morning Edition for the past few years. In 2022, he was promoted to Content Director.