Indiana state regulations prevent utilities companies from shutting off gas to their customers between Dec. 1 and March 15, presumably for their well-being during the cold weather months, the Times of Munster reports. However, after that date, people who qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are fair game, and many are in danger of not only having their outstanding bills sent to debt collection
services, but also losing their utilities. As such, the Northern Indiana Public Service Corporation (NIPSCO) has stepped in to help those struggling to pay with a variety of assistance programs. For instance, the NIPSCO CARE Discount program provides bill discounts of between 11 percent and 26 percent for LIHEAP-eligible customers, while the NIPSCO Hardship program offers up to $200 in bill assistance for households with incomes higher than LIHEAP standards but lower than twice the federal poverty level. "This winter, mild temperatures in combination with low natural gas prices have helped keep bills lower than past years," Cindy Jackson, manager of energy efficiency and energy assistance programs for NIPSCO, told the news source. "Despite these favorable conditions, there are still people struggling with their bills." In other NIPSCO news, the utility recently pledged $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of northwest Indiana for a new environmental education center, Valpo Life reports.