Low income customers of Northern Indiana Public Service Company can explore several assistance programs. The energy company will always recommend people call them if they are faced with a shut off, however the other programs include Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE), the NIPSCO Hardship Program, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and one off payment arrangements. Get more details on these various services below.
One of the resources for people with a disconnection or shut off notice is the NIPSCO Hardship Program. The utility company can provide energy and utility bill assistance funds for those low to moderate customers who are no more than 200 percent of the federal government poverty income level. Funds are usually available during the winter months of December to May, and when funding is available applicants can get up to $200 to be used to pay their bills. These hardship funds and cash assistance is available through many of the same Community Action Agencies across Indiana where LIHEAP funds are distributed.
Discounts can be provided from the NIPSCO Customer Assistance for Residential Energy Program, or CARE. This resource provides bill reductions and credits to qualified applicants. It is usually offered at the same time as LIHEAP and in conjunction with this. Once someone is approved for LIHEAP benefits, customers are automatically enrolled in the CARE program and they will be provided savings on their bills of up to 26%. The exact amount of the reduction will be determined on the same criteria used by the state of Indiana in determining the level of assistance through LIHEAP. The monthly discount that a customer receives will be applied starting with December heating bills and will continue through May.
Payment agreements may be offered. What could be provided to customers is a NIPSCO credit agreement, which requires individuals or families to make an initial payment on their outstanding bills within four days of the agreement. They can then spread the remaining unpaid balance on their account over three months. They still need to pay current bills as they are due.
Northern Indiana Public Service Company will set the terms of any agreement, and although customers may select the amount of the initial payment on their account, it may not be less than a designated and agreed upon amount. The customer may choose to pay the remaining unpaid balance on their account in weekly, monthly, or bi-weekly installments. If you both agree to a monthly installment plan, the customer may select a due date each month that may help them get in sync with their payment or income.
Gift of Warmth Program is another financial assistance program that relies on donations and contribution from the community. If an applicant meets eligibility requirements and guidelines, they could receive energy bill assistance through NIPSCO's Gift of Warmth (GOW) program. Emergency funds and grants are available whether the customer uses electricity or gas as their primary heat source; however you can only apply and benefit at most once per year. This GOW matching funds program is administered through various non-profit agencies such as the Salvation Army.
Cash grants from the federal government Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is offered for very low income customers who meet certain poverty guidelines. Qualified families may be eligible to receive state of Indiana and federal government utility bill assistance dollars from (LIHEAP). Community Action Agencies work with other social service and outreach offices in every county that Northern Indiana Public Service serves. The program can provide money for paying both summer cooling as well as winter heating bills.
Indiana Town Trustees – This is required by state law. Your township trustee may be able to provide working poor and qualified individuals with bill assistance. Trustees are funded from annual tax revenues.
Customers facing shut-off, disconnection, or who have received a termination notice should immediately call NIPSCO at 1-800-464-7726. Call them early in the process, as if you wait your options are limited.
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