Chesterton Tribune



Apply now for low-income energy assistance for 2016-17 winter

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Beginning today, folks who expect to have trouble paying their winter-heating bills this season may apply for enrollment in the federal low-income energy assistance program (EAP) in which the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) participates.

“While NIPSCO has among the lowest residential gas bills in Indiana, payment assistance programs help give a greater sense of security to customers experiencing financial difficulties,” NIPSCO said in a statement released on Monday.

“Winter temperatures can be unpredictable, so we wanted to start communicating with our customers and make them aware of the many assistance programs we have available,” NIPSCO EAP Manager Kimberly Ferrell said. “These programs are in place to help families in need, and we strongly encourage them to reach out.”

Last month NIPSCO projected that heating bills during the upcoming winter season--Nov. 1 to March 31--will spike by 24 percent over last season. That is, over the course of the 2016-17 winter, average residential customers are expected to pay a total of $78 more than they did during the 2015-16 season. That amounts to $15 more per month.

Assistance programs include the following:

* Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): 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 in their bills.

* NIPSCO Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) discount program: 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 between 151 and 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline, it offers up to $400 in gas bill assistance.

NIPSCO customer service reps are trained to connect customers with available funds. Cal from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at (800) 464-7726.

Eligibility is based on income and family size. For more information and a listing of agencies that help to administer assistance programs, visit

The following information is usually required when applying for LIHEAP:

* Indiana photo ID.

* Social Security cards for all household members.

* NIPSCO bill.

* Proof of residency.

* Proof of income.


Posted 11/1/2016




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