Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Gas shut off moratorium for low income folks ends today, assistance available

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The Northern Indiana Public Service Company is reminding customers that bill payment assistance is still available after the state’s moratorium on disconnecting natural gas service during the winter for eligible customers ends today, Wednesday, March 15.

Between Dec. 1 and March 15, natural gas utilities in Indiana may not disconnect service to Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) customers who are delinquent on their home heating bills.

Customers experiencing financial challenges are encouraged to contact NIPSCO to explore the options available to them:

--LIHEAP Program: 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).

Applications for heating assistance are taken through May 12.

Summer cooling assistance will run from June 5 through Aug. 11.

--NIPSCO Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) Discount Program: this 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. CARE discounts are available through May 31 or until funds are exhausted.

--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. Hardship funds are available through many of the same local community action agencies which distribute LIHEAP funds. Assistance is available to May 31 or until funds are exhausted.

--Township trustees: limited 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.

--Payment arrangements: a NIPSCO credit agreement allows customers to make an initial payment within five days of the agreement, then spread the remaining unpaid balance over three months, plus current bills as they are due.

For information on billing options and payment assistance, see NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance

 

Posted 3/15/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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