In recognition of National Energy Assistance Day on Wednesday, February 1, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is raising awareness about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and other financial support to help customers with their utility bills. Approximately $4.5 billion in LIHEAP funding was released nationally in November 2022. Of that amount, more than $94 million was allocated for eligible Indiana residents. Customers experiencing financial difficulty paying their energy bill are encouraged to find out if they qualify for LIHEAP and explore other assistance options available to meet their individual needs.
“We exist to deliver safe, reliable energy that drives value to our customers, and this means offering options to ensure those most vulnerable and struggling to manage their energy bills continue having access to LIHEAP and other assistance programs,” said Jennifer Montague, NiSource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.
LIHEAP support is available to households that are at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income (SMI). Customers can learn more and find out if they qualify at eap.ihcda.in.gov or call 2-1-1. Applications are taken through May 15, 2023, at 5 p.m. EST.
Other available assistance programs include:
• Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) Discount Program: In addition to the assistance available through LIHEAP, the NIPSCO CARE 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.
• NIPSCO Hardship Program: For customers just outside the 60 percent SMI for LIHEAP, the NIPSCO Hardship Program offers up to $400 in gas bill assistance to households between 151 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Hardship funds are available through many of the same local Community Action Agencies where LIHEAP funds are distributed. NIPSCO.com/IncomeEligible.
• SERV (Supply Energy Resources to Veterans): SERV is an income-eligible assistance program available for active military and eligible veteran NIPSCO customers who need financial assistance with residential gas utility charges. To participate, customers must be an active member of the United States Armed Forces or a former member honorably discharged, with an active NIPSCO residential gas utility account that is past due. See the full list of requirements and how to apply at NIPSCO.com/IncomeEligible.
• SILVER (Seniors in Indiana Low-Income and Vulnerable Energy Resource): SILVER is an income-eligible assistance program available for NIPSCO’s senior citizen customers 60 years of age or older who need financial assistance with residential gas utility charges. Eligible senior citizens must have an active NIPSCO residential gas utility account that is past due. See the full list of requirements and how to apply at NIPSCO.com/IncomeEligible.
NIPSCO Hardship, SILVER and SERV programs will run until May 31, or until funds are exhausted.
• Flexible Payment Plans: NIPSCO has expanded its 12-month flexible payment plan to allow all eligible customers that need financial support to spread their past due balance over 12-months. The three- and six-month options are also still available to customers experiencing difficulty paying their bill. Customers can learn more at NIPSCO.com/PaymentPlans.
• 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 may be available.
For more information on bill assistance, customers can visit NIPSCO.com/FinancialSupport. Customers experiencing difficulty with their bill—regardless of their income—are encouraged to contact NIPSCO’s Customer Care Center Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT at 1-800-464-7726 to determine what help might be available to them.
In addition to several payment assistance options, NIPSCO provides a number of energy-efficiency programs, rebates and tips to help lower energy usage and bills. Visit NIPSCO.com/Save for more information on available programs and other ways to save.