With the end of the winter heating season approaching, NIPSCO reminds customers that while the state’s moratorium on disconnecting electric and natural gas service during the winter for eligible customers ends March 15, bill payment assistance programs are still available.
Between December 1 and March 15, natural gas providers in Indiana do not disconnect service to customers enrolled in the state Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) who are delinquent on their home heating bills.
"Keeping customers connected and ensuring they are safe and warm is essential,” said Jennifer Montague, vice president of NIPSCO communications and external affairs. "Regardless of a customer's income, we offer a number of programs that can be utilized to help those who may find themselves falling behind on their energy bills."
Among the programs available to help customers are:
- LIHEAP Program: Support is available to households falling within 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines and is fully funded by a federal block grant offered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Applications for heating assistance will be accepted through May 18, 2019. Summer cooling assistance will begin in June 2019 if remaining funds are available.
- NIPSCO Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) Discount Program: In addition to the assistance available through LIHEAP, the NIPSCO CARE Discount Program is designed to provide further bill reductions to LIHEAP-eligible customers. Once enrolled in LIHEAP, customers are automatically enrolled in the program, and reductions range from 11 to 26 percent, depending on the same criteria used by the state in determining the level of assistance. CARE discounts are available through May 31, 2019, or until funds are exhausted.
- NIPSCO Hardship Program: For customers just outside the federal poverty guidelines for LIHEAP, the NIPSCO Hardship Program offers up to $400 in gas bill assistance to households between 151 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Hardship funds are available through many of the same local Community Action Agencies where LIHEAP funds are distributed and are available through May 31, 2019, or until funds are exhausted.
- Township Trustees: A limited amount of energy assistance funds are available through local Township Trustee offices. NIPSCO customers are encouraged to contact their local Township Trustee to see what help is available.
- Payment Arrangements: A NIPSCO credit agreement allows customers to make an initial payment within five days of the agreement, then spread the remaining unpaid balance over three months, plus current bills as they are due.
For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance or call 1-800-4-NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726). In addition to offering a number of payment assistance options, NIPSCO offers a number of energy-efficiency programs to help lower energy usage and bills. Visit NIPSCO.com/Save for more information on available programs and other ways to save.