Homeowners and renters who meet certain income standards can get help paying winter utility bills through federal and local energy assistance programs.
The Northern Indiana Public Service Company announced Monday that enrollment for winter assistance programs is open.
“Winter weather can make utility bills a challenge for a family in need,” said Kimberly Ferrell, manager of NIPSCO’s customer contact center. “To help, there are a number of assistance programs available, and we strongly encourage customers to reach out as soon as they start experiencing difficulties.”
Assistance programs include:
• Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: Financial and other support through the federal LIHEAP service 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 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 CARE.
• 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.
Call NIPSCO at 800-464-7726 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays for information and assistance. More information and a listing of agencies that help administer assistance programs is available at NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance.
Eligibility is based on income and family size. The following information is typically required when applying for assistance: Indiana picture ID, Social Security cards for all household members, NIPSCO bill, proof of residency and proof of income.
Illinois residents can call the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County at 800-571-2332, the LIHEAP hotline at 877-411-9276 or visit ComEd.com for information on assistance programs.