INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has approved a settlement agreement over a rate increase request from the Indiana-based gas utility for CenterPoint Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNP). The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says the agreement will reduce the utility’s annual base rates by nearly $6 million, though customers will still see increases on their bills.
As part of the agreement, monthly fixed charges on a residential natural gas bill will decrease about $2 to $16.50. However, the residential natural gas customer service charge will increase from $11.25 to $16.50.
The OUCC says the utility’s fixed, monthly charge for infrastructure improvements and federal pipeline safety mandates will reset to $0.00 in January. That rate is currently $7.24.
“We appreciate the Commission’s approval of this agreement and are grateful for the parties’ collaborative efforts to reach a fair resolution,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Bill Fine. “Significant investments the utility has made in recent years will improve the gas distribution system’s reliability and safety. At the same time, this case provided the opportunity to identify savings offsetting the needed infrastructure costs.”
The agreement affects more than 620,000 customers in CenterPoint Energy’s Indiana North territory, which covers 51 Hoosier counties.
CenterPoint detailed the rate increase request in December 2020. The utility was looking to recover about 20% of the cost of a major natural gas pipeline modernization plan.