2009-12-02 / Local News

NIPSCO will again participate in Winter Warmth

Comet staff report

Northern Indiana Public Service Company announced Tuesday it has accepted the revisions made by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to the Winter Warmth Program for the 2009-2010 winter heating season.

According to changes made by the IURC, eligible customers will be able to receive assistance funds toward their utility bills, but no longer toward their deposit. Approximately $1.1 million of the overall $5.5 million Winter Warmth budget for last year’s program was dedicated to assisting customers with deposit amounts. Funds previously used towards deposits will now be reallocated towards bill assistance for qualifying customers.

Also new this year, NIPSCO will be increasing its contribution amount towards the program from 18 to 25 percent and the company will also cover all administrative expenses incurred by thirdparty administering agencies.

Since its inception in 2004, the Winter Warmth program has provided approximately $25.4 million in bill and deposit assistance to 70,315 NIPSCO customers in more than 25 counties across northern Indiana.

During that time, NIPSCO has contributed approximately $5 million to the program. The average NIPSCO residential customer will contribute approximately 63¢ per month toward the program.

Qualifying customers will be eligible to receive up to $450 in annual energy assistance. The qualifying eligibility requirements include those customers with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, in addition to those who have a financial hardship situation as determined by an administering Winter Warmth agency.

Customers are also encouraged to apply for all home and rental weatherization programs, including programs available from the State of Indiana through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Customers who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines may qualify for these weatherization programs.

Winter Warmth is the result of a collaborative effort by NIPSCO, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, Citizens Action Coalition, and a group representing industrial customers.

Eligible customers may begin applying for the Winter Warmth program after Dec. 14 by visiting one of the 32 existing energy assistance agency sites located across NIPSCO’s northern Indiana service area. For Carroll County, that site is the Area IV Agency at 901 Prince William Road, Delphi, phone (765) 564-6466.

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