With enrollment for federal assistance programs for low-income households
beginning on Monday, Nov. 5, NIPSCO is encouraging customers experiencing
financial challenges to consider available payment assistance options for
the winter heating season.
“While higher usage amounts are probable this winter when compared to last
year’s unseasonably warm temperatures, NIPSCO is focused on keeping gas
prices affordable,” NIPSCO said in a statement released on Monday. “For 11
consecutive months, the utility has offered the lowest residential gas bills
in the state (Source: Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission).”
During the 2011-12 winter heating season, 36,000 NIPSCO customers received
assistance from the federal assistance program, compared to roughly 50,000
customers in previous years.
“Winter temperatures can be unpredictable in our service area, so helping
our customers plan ahead for any potential bill payment challenges is
important,” said Cindy Jackson, manager of residential consumer programs for
NIPSCO. “We partner with local agencies across the state, such as Salvation
Army chapters, to help customers in need apply for assistance.”
The following programs offer assistance to eligible customers on a
first-come, first-served basis:
Low Income Home
Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
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). The
level of assistance is based on several factors, including family size,
income status and dwelling type.
Funds are administered by the Indiana Housing and Community Development
Authority (IHCDA) through Community Action Agencies with outreach offices in
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.
Eligibility information and a listing of agencies by county can be found at
NIPSCO.com/BillingPayment, and customers are encouraged to contact the
agency for a complete list of required documentation ahead of visiting in
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.
A limited amount of energy assistance funds is available through local
Township Trustee offices. NIPSCO customers are encouraged to contact their
local Trustee to see what help is available.
For more information on all available payment assistance options for NIPSCO
customers, visit NIPSCO.com/BillingPayment