Keeping Energy Costs Affordable for Seniors
United Senior Actions believes that seniors should not have to decide between heating their homes, having electricity or being able to buy food and medicine. To that end, we expect The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commissiion to do what is requred of it by statute: to make decisions that balance the interests of consumers with those of the utilities. There should be no possiblity of conflict of interest for members of the commission regarding former ties to utility companies. USA and other advocacy groups will continue to monitor this agency and demand that decisions are made on fair and equitable grounds.
LIHEAP: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program that helps low-income households pay their home heating and cooling bills. The LIHEAP program helps fight poverty in Indiana. Follow this link to the LIHEAP Action Center's Campaign for Home Energy Assistance to learn about the program in Indiana http://liheap.org/?page_id=460.
Without energy assistance, many seniors would not be able to live independently. Read this Fact Sheet describing the help Hoosiers received in 2010.
All three Indiana Utilities companies - Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO), Duke Energy, and Vectern participate in the LIHEAP program. Visit our utilities resources page to learn more about these assistance programs.
Indiana Gas Utilities Renew Assistance Program
All three gas utility companies in Indiana: Citizens Gas, Vectren and NIPSCO, consented to new rules governing the heating assistance program, called the Universal Service Fund Program, in time for the winter season.
The Universal Service Fund Program has assisted struggling customers of Citizens Gas, Vectren and NIPSCO for the past six years by providing a discount on their monthly bill, extra help in hardship cases and, in the case of NIPSCO, lump sum payments to help with deposits.
Earlier this year, the program expired eliminating the assistance for over 50,000 Hoosier households, alarming consumer organizations United Senior Action, Citizens Action Coalition and AARP Indiana who all joined the effort to get the program renewed.
The program was reauthorized by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) with revisions requiring larger contributions from the utility companies on November 18, 2009. By December 1, each company consented to the revisions and renewed their assistance programs.
For more background on this story, check out our archives.