Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), state agencies and other local organizations are partnering once again to help connect families that are struggling to pay their heating bills this winter with available assistance funds. Enrollment for the federal low-income energy assistance program (EAP) began on Tuesday, Nov. 1st.
While NIPSCO has among the lowest residential gas bills in Indiana, payment assistance programs help give a greater sense of security to customers experiencing financial difficulties.
“Winter temperatures can be unpredictable, so we wanted to start communicating with our customers and make them aware of the many assistance programs we have available,” NIPSCO EAP and program manager Kimberly Ferrell said. “These programs are in place to help families in need, and we strongly encourage them to reach out.”
Assistance programs include:
· Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): LIHEAP support is available to households falling within 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Between Dec. 1 and March 15, Indiana utilities do not disconnect service to customers enrolled in LIHEAP who are behind on their bills.
· NIPSCO Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) Discount Program: The NIPSCO CARE Discount Program is designed to provide further gas bill reductions to LIHEAP-eligible customers. Once enrolled in LIHEAP, customers are automatically enrolled in the program.
· 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.
NIPSCO customer care agents trained to help connect customers with available funds are available Monday through Fridayfrom 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST at 800-4-NIPSCO (800-464-7726).
Eligibility is based on income and family size. More information and a listing of agencies that help administer assistance programs can be found at NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance.
The following information is usually required when applying for LIHEAP at an agency; however, be sure to contact the agency for the complete list of documentation you will need to provide:
· Indiana picture ID
· Social Security cards for all household members
· NIPSCO bill
· Proof of residency
· Proof of income
Energy- and Money-Saving Programs
Improving a home’s energy efficiency can also make a big difference on utility bills, and NIPSCO customers have access to a wide range of programs designed to help manage energy usage. A full list of programs and tips to help manage energy use can be found at NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy.