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Energy assistance programs help NIPSCO customers stay on track

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As colder weather begins to move into our area, we understand that some of our NIPSCO customers may have concerns about seasonal energy bills. We want customers to know that resources are available to help them manage energy consumption and costs, and to obtain financial assistance if needed.

While providing safe, reliable and affordable electric and gas service is at the heart of what we do, we also care about the well-being of our customers and the communities we serve across northern Indiana. Our goal is to work with customers to identify solutions to help them when they need it most.

There are several bill payment assistance programs available for customers experiencing financial difficulties; some of these programs are provided by the state of Indiana and local governments. NIPSCO has also designed programs to address categories of need in our service territory. We urge any customer experiencing difficulty paying their NIPSCO bill to visit NIPSCO.com/assistance as soon as possible to review all available energy assistance programs and find the right solution for their situation.

Those looking to quickly find information 24-hours a day, seven days a week can also use our new Chat feature located in the bottom right-hand corner of our website or via our mobile app. Customers who prefer to do business in person are invited to visit our recently reopened Gary Business Office at 3229 Broadway and take advantage of the same services offered when calling NIPSCO’s Customer Care Center. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday.

The widest-reaching program available through the state of Indiana is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP is available to households that are at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income. Applicants must reapply annually. This year’s program opened on October 1 for online and mail-in applications. Customers can learn more and find out if they qualify at eap.ihcda.in.gov or by calling 2-1-1.

At NIPSCO, we want to provide additional support for our customers who qualify for LIHEAP. Our Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (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 based on the same criteria used by the state in determining the level of assistance.

Customers who do not qualify for LIHEAP still have many options available to them. NIPSCO’s Hardship Program is available 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 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. The program opens on December 1. Customers can learn more at NIPSCO.com/IncomeEligible.

State and local governments may also have assistance programs available for qualifying customers. More information can be found at www.in.gov/ihcda/.

A limited amount of energy assistance funds are also distributed through local Township Trustee offices each year; customers should contact their local Township Trustee to see what help may be available.

SILVER and SERV are two newer energy assistance programs for eligible seniors, active U.S. military and veterans whose households are between 0 to 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Both programs, Supply Energy Resources to Veterans (SERV) and Seniors in Indiana Low-Income and Vulnerable Energy Resource (SILVER), offer a one-time benefit of up to $400 annually to those who qualify.

Some customers may not qualify for assistance under these programs, yet still need help paying their bill. We offer flexible three- and six-month payment plan options for all customers, and a 12-month option for eligible LIHEAP customers. Customers with a current account may also enroll in the Budget Plan program at any time of the year. This convenient program allows customers to pay about the same amount each month, eliminating surprises.

Customers can enroll in the Budget Plan along with other billing and payment programs like AutoPay, Paperless Billing as well as pay their bill, track usage and manage accounts via our new NIPSCO Mobile app available for download on iPhone or Android. The NIPSCO Customer Care Center is also available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT at 1-800-4-NIPSCO.

Remember, customers have options to help take control of their bill - from payment and budget plans to energy efficiency programs and energy usage tips. Learn more at NIPSCO.com/takecontrol.

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