Ind. utilities predict small jump in heating bills

INDIANAPOLIS (AP): Three of Indiana's largest natural gas utilities are projecting small increases in heating bills for this winter.

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. forecasts its customers will see only about a 1 percent increase in natural gas prices, Citizens Energy Group in Indianapolis projects typical gas bills for its residential customers will increase less than 2 percent, and Vectren estimates its customers in southern and central Indiana will pay about 3 percent more.

The estimates are based on normal winter weather. Colder than normal weather and customer usage could drive individual bills higher.

Vectren North division President Mike Roeder says natural gas customers have seen year-over-year winter bills decline over the past four years with falling gas prices. He says gas prices have since moved up modestly.