Retail Unbundling - Indiana
|Status: The State has one pilot unbundling program for residential customers.|
Overview: Indiana has one pilot unbundling
program for residential gas customers, through Northern
Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), the largest local distribution
company (LDC) in the State. The program, called "NIPSCO Choice," has been in
existence since April 1998 and is open to the approximately 719,000 residential and commercial customers in the company’s service territory, although enrollment caps
limit participation to 150,000 residential customers and 20,000 commercial
customers. Participation had dropped substantially between 2000 and 2002,
with more than 12,000 residential customers enrolled in July 2000 but only
4,766 residential customers in September 2002 after the only active
supplier stopped enrolling new customers. However, the company made a
concerted effort to revitalize the program in late 2002, which led to
three new suppliers entering the program. As of December 2009, the program has nine active suppliers serving about 93,600 residential customers (another three suppliers serve commercial and industrial customers).
In December 2009, NIPSCO asked IURC to extend the company's alternative regulatory plan through March 31, 2012, with certain modifications. A settlement agreement has been reached between NIPSCO, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, and the Choice Marketers, filed under Cause No. 43837, proposing to eliminate the subsidization of the choice program by the company and its non-choice customers by removing the cost component for interstate pipeline transportation charged to choice customers and assigning upstream pipeline capacity and storage to qualifying marketers in the choice program. According to NIPSCO, the choice program would basically remain unchanged from the perspective of the choice customer. An IURC order is pending as of March 25, 2010.
Legislation approved in March 2006 allows public schools to pool their purchasing power for natural gas and to choose their own natural gas marketer. Schools in the NIPSCO and Citizens territories were already eligible to choose their own natural gas marketer under the above-mentioned programs, and Vectren Corporation's (Indiana Gas Company and Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company) tariffs allowed any educational institution to choose an alternative gas supplier. According to the IURC, the other LDCs in the State have modifed their tariffs to comply with the 2006 legislation or are unable to provide this service to schools because of system limitations.
|EIA State Data: In 2008, Indiana had 1,678,158 residential and 157,223 commercial customers. They consumed approximately 153 and 85 billion cubic feet of natural gas, respectively. The average prices residential and commercial customers paid for natural gas from local distribution companies were $12.65 and $11.14 per thousand cubic feet, respectively.|
|Eligibility and Participation in Retail Choice Programs :|
|Eligibility and Participation by Customer Class, December 2009
|Legislative and Regulatory Actions on Retail Unbundling|
|Summary: The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation in 1995 that gives the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission authority to allow a utility's request for alternative rate regulation if it is found to be in the public interest. Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), the largest local distribution company in the State, filed for alternative rates in December 1995 for a 2-year pilot choice program and some optional service offerings. The pilot program was approved in the fall of 1997 and began in April 1998. Citizens Gas and Coke Utility (Citizens) filed for alternative rates in November 1999, which would allow all its large commercial and industrial customers (using more than 50,000 therms) immediate choice of gas suppliers. The program would be phased in over a 6-year period, with choice available to remaining commercial and industrial customers in the third year, and residential customers in years 4 through 6. The company’s settlement agreement was approved in December 2002 (effective June 1, 2003), but had no provisions for residential choice. The General Assembly approved legislation in March 2006 that allows schools to pool their purchasing power for natural gas and to choose their own natural gas marketer.|
|Regulatory and Legislative Actions|