Posted: Tuesday, August 4, 2015 7:00 am
NIPSCO electric plans to file a new rate case with state regulators on or about Oct. 1, which could lead to increases in electric bills for its 457,000 electric customers across northern Indiana.
New NiSource CEO Joseph Hamrock revealed that and other details of the company’s path forward Monday in an 8 a.m. second-quarter earnings call with analysts. It was NiSource’s first earnings release since spinning off its gas transmission and storage business on July 1.
After filing the rate case, NIPSCO plans to file a new electric modernization plan, Hamrock told Wall Street analysts. Key parts of the previous $1.2 billion modernization plan and the related customer charges were overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals in April.
In May, NIPSCO entered into a settlement with key consumer groups including some of its largest industrial customers addressing key parts of the court’s ruling. The settlement calls for the utility to file a new rate case and stop collecting bill surcharges for its current modernization plan.
That settlement must still be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
NIPSCO’s last change in rates was approved by the commission in 2011 and led to a 6.2 percent increase in bills for residential customers.
NiSource’s second-quarter earnings report on Monday was its first as a stand-alone company. However, the results for its gas transmission and storage business were still included in NiSource’s earnings because the spinoff was not effective until after the quarter’s end.
The company’s former gas transmission and storage business is now called Columbia Pipeline Group, which is a stand-alone, publicly traded company.
NiSource recorded a second-quarter loss of $36.1 million, or 11 cents per share, as compared to a gain of $78.5 million, or 25 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2014. The loss was due mainly to costs in order to extinguish long-term debt, which was done in preparation for the spinoff of the gas transmission and storage business.
In another measure of earnings which excludes many one-time items, NiSource reported second-quarter net operating earnings of $56.8 million, or 18 cents per share, as compared to $77.9 million, or 25 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
NiSource also received confirmation in June that all three major credit rating agencies had either upgraded or kept the company’s credit rating the same on a post-separation basis. The effect of the split on the company’s credit rating had been a key concern of investors.