We're planning for tomorrow, today through our Integrated Resource Plan--the regulatory process used in Indiana to outline how energy companies plan to meet the future electric needs of its customers.

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Common questions

Why is NIPSCO considering retiring its coal-fired generation units?

Market conditions and advancements in technology are transforming the electric industry, and our current analysis indicates the most viable option for our customers in the future involves accelerating the retirement of the coal-fired generation within our fleet and transitioning to lower-cost renewable energy sources.

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Which plants are being considered for retirement and when?

While not final, the timeline for NIPSCO’s five remaining coal-fired units identified in the analysis shows the retirement of units 14, 15, 17 and 18 at its R.M. Schahfer Generating Station located in Wheatfield, Ind. no later than 2023, and unit 12 at its Michigan City Generating station located in Michigan City, Ind. by 2028.

This is sooner than what we announced in our last Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which indicated retiring half of our coal-fired generation by 2023, beginning with our Bailly Generating Station that was retired in May 2018.

Operation of NIPSCO’s existing natural gas-fired Sugar Creek Generating Station in West Terre Haute, Ind. and the Norway and Oakdale Hydroelectric Dams along the Tippecanoe River would continue.

While our analysis is pointing toward this option, we will continue to consider stakeholder input as part of the IRP process.

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Did NIPSCO anticipate these changes, and what has the company done to minimize the impact?

We pay close attention to future environmental regulations, changes in the market and other factors that might affect electric generation.

Over the last several decades, NIPSCO has diversified its generation to include natural gas and purchased wind power, made necessary environmental upgrades and implemented cost efficiencies to provide the most cost-effective, safe and reliable source of electricity.

The most recent analysis being conducted within our Integrated Resource Plan demonstrates the cost-competitiveness that has been evolving in the market, pointing toward the need to accelerate retirement of our coal-fired electric generation and replace it with lower-cost renewable sources.

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Do you plan to buy/build new electric generation?

NIPSCO remains committed to supplying the needs of its customers. NIPSCO plans to continue the operation of its existing natural gasfired generating station and its two hydroelectric facilities. Replacement plans for the retired coal-generating units are still being evaluated. Currently, the most viable replacement options point toward the addition of largely renewable energy resources, with the combination of battery storage technology.

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Why did you make long-term investments in units at Schahfer if you now plan to retire them in a few years? What changed?

Analysis indicates that even with the recent environmental upgrades and investments that are needed for continued operation through 2023, the best cost option for customers is to retire the units sooner than later – especially as the units continue to age, requiring ongoing maintenance expenses not related to environmental upgrades and upkeep, and as new technology becomes available to produce more cost-efficient energy.

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Could these plans change?

Even after we submit our plan by November 1 to the IURC, the timing of these decisions could change. For example, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) must approve any requests for electric generation unit retirements.

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What will happen to employees? Will any employees lose their jobs as we retire generation units?

It is early in the process and our goal is to minimize the effect on our employee population, as well as to ensure our ability to safely and reliably serve the electric needs of our customers. A variety of strategies will be considered toward that goal and we will begin discussions in the near future.

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What do you plan to do with the sites for any plant that is retired?

Nothing has been decided for the sites at this time, and we will be considering a range of options for future use.

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Doesn’t the current administration’s changes in EPA and environmental regulations make the continuation of coal more viable for the future?

The changes we’re seeing within our system, and the broader electric market haven’t occurred overnight – the landscape for electric generation has changed dramatically over the last decade. The cost-competitiveness in the market and advancements in technology are largely driving the need to accelerate the retirement of our coal-fired units and transition to options that are better for our customers over the long-term.

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How will these decisions affect bills?

It is too early in the process to know exactly what impacts these decisions may have on customer bills, but the long-term costs and value for customers are among the key factors considered under the IRP process. Generation costs make up a considerable portion of the rates customer pay today and lower-cost resource options are better for customers. While these decisions will not affect bills in the short-term, any long-term changes to customer bills ultimately will be subject to normal regulatory review and approval by the IURC.

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Are these decisions all driven by recent regulations or environmental compliance costs?

No. We are rebalancing our generation portfolio based on many factors, including market conditions, age and condition of the generating units, maintenance costs and costs associated with federal environmental compliance. Ultimately, this potential plan works to transition to the best cost, cleanest electric supply mix available while maintaining reliability, diversity and flexibility for the technology and market changes ahead.

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Have an emergency?

Natural Gas: If you smell gas, think you have a gas leak, have carbon monoxide symptoms or have some other gas emergency situation, go outside and call 911 and then our emergency number 1-800-634-3524.
Electric: For any electric emergency, including a downed power line, power outage or other electric-related situation, please call 1-800-464-7726.