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NIPSCO seeks 9.8% rate increase

NIPSCO has filed a $713 million plan to modernize its current infrastructure that would result in a rate increase of about 9.8 percent during the next seven years, officials said.

The rate increase would be installed in annual increments of 1.4 percent, said Nick Meyer, a NIPSCO spokesman.

The technical and legal staff of the state Office of Utility Consumer Commission will do a thorough review of NIPSCO's request before it is filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Jan. 10, according to OUCC Director of External Affairs Anthony Swinger.

The public is welcome to submit written comments in the meantime, either by mail, fax, or email, or through the OUCC website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, Swinger said.

The project includes installing pipeline, replacing low pressure systems, supplying natural gas to rural areas and upgrading lines throughout northern Indiana.

Customers would not see an increase until 2015, Meyer said.

"We have a strong system, but must modernize it for the future," he said.

The project will result in hundreds of new jobs in northeast Indiana, said Kathleen Szot, a NIPSCO spokeswoman.

The gas company serves 790,000 natural gas users in 32 counties across northern Indiana, Szot said.

For more on this story, see Saturday's print edition or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Saturday.

vsade@jg.net

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