Despite expected cuts in federal funding for Low Income Home Energy
Assistance (LIHEAP) across the country, several options are available to
offer much needed winter utility bill assistance for qualified NIPSCO
households experiencing financial challenges, the Northern Indiana Public
Service Company said in a statement released on Thursday.
“Anticipated federal cuts could mean a 27 percent shortfall this winter from
last year’s available LIHEAP funds for NIPSCO customers,” NIPSCO said. “The
company is currently working towards a solution to help fill the gap.”
“These programs are vital to the safety and well-being of individuals and
families across our service area, especially to low-income, elderly and
disabled customers, as well as those hit hardest by the economy,” said Cindy
Jackson, manager of energy efficiency and energy assistance programs for
NIPSCO. “Fortunately, there are still a number of options available to help
customers falling behind on their winter energy bills.”
LIHEAP 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).
General enrollment begins Nov. 1, and funds are administered by the Indiana
Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and spread across
Northern Indiana through Community Action Agencies with outreach offices in
Last year, more than 46,000 NIPSCO customers participated in LIHEAP. The
level of assistance is based on several factors, including family size,
income status, and dwelling type.
Between Dec. 1 and March 15, natural gas utilities in Indiana do not
disconnect service to customers enrolled in LIHEAP who are delinquent on
their home heating bills.
Eligible applicants should contact their local Community Action Agency. In
Porter County, that organization is the Northwest Indiana Community Action
Group, 1005 Campbell St., Valparaiso, IN 46385. Call (219) 464-9736. Open
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
In addition to the assistance available through LIHEAP, the NIPSCO 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, depending on the same
criteria used by the state in determining the level of assistance.
For customers just outside the federal poverty guidelines for LIHEAP, the
NIPSCO Hardship Program offers up to $200 in gas bill assistance to
households between 151-200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Hardship funds are available through many of the same local Community Action
Agencies where LIHEAP funds are distributed.
A limited amount of energy assistance funds are available through local
Township Trustee offices. Last year, approximately $1.2 million was
distributed to help nearly 7,000 customers. NIPSCO customers are encouraged
to contact their local Township Trustee to see what help is available.
“Regardless of income levels, it’s important that any customer with
bill-payment trouble contact NIPSCO immediately to discuss potential
assistance options,” Jackson added.
For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit
For more information on available energy-saving programs and other ways to
save, visit NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy