The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) has approved part of a
proposal recently made by NIPSCO to help fill the expected shortfall in
available funds as a result of cuts in federal funding for the Low Income
Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) across the country.
That program offers much winter heating assistance locally for qualified
LIHEAP support—in existence for 30 years—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
But with expected federal cuts amounting to an anticipated 27 percent
shortfall this winter from last year’s available LIHEAP funds for NIPSCO
customers, the company proposed offsetting those cuts with $2.1 million in
unused funds from an expired utility assistance program.
The approved $2.1 million is expected to help approximately 8,000 homes
throughout NIPSCO’s service area which would not otherwise have received
help without these additional funds.
“This decision comes at a critical time as we head into the heart of the
winter heating season,” said Cindy Jackson, manager of energy efficiency and
energy assistance programs for NIPSCO. “These programs are vital to the
safety and well-being of thousands of individuals and families, especially
to elderly, disabled and low-income customers, as well as those hit hardest
by the economy.”
General enrollment began Nov. 1, with funds administered by the Indiana
Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and distributed 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. A
listing of agencies by county can be found at NIPSCO.com/paymentassistance,
and customers are encouraged to contact the agency for a complete list of
required documentation ahead of visiting in person.
In addition to the assistance available through LIHEAP, the NIPSCO 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.
Limited energy assistance funds are available through local township trustee
Last year, approximately $1.2 million was distributed to help nearly 7,000
NIPSCO customers are encouraged to contact their local Township Trustee to
see what help is available.
In a Bind?
income levels, it’s important that any customer with bill-payment trouble
contact NIPSCO immediately to discuss potential assistance options,” Jackson
information on available payment assistance programs, customers are
encouraged to visit NIPSCO.com/paymentassistance
information on available energy-saving programs and other ways to save,