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Assistance Available to Pay Heating Bills

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Indiana's utility shutoff moratorium runs through March 15 for eligible households. (Adobe Stock)
Indiana's utility shutoff moratorium runs through March 15 for eligible households. (Adobe Stock)
 By Mary Schuermann Kuhlman - Producer, Contact
January 14, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana is entering the heart of home-heating season, so it's also time for a reminder help is available for households unable to afford their heating costs.

Eligible Hoosiers can apply for a one-time benefit from the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) that can go toward a heating or electric bill.

Anthony Swinger, spokesman for the Indiana Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor, said higher energy bills are typical for this time of year, but the burden is worse right now for families who are on tight budgets.

"EAP is an important program from year to year," Swinger maintained. "I think we're seeing the importance heightened this year, of course, because of the COVID 19 pandemic and the economic ramifications that COVID 19 has had."

Eligible families must be at or below 60% of the state median income, about $4,100 a month for a family of four.

Local program information is available by calling 211, and those who apply for EAP also are eligible for home-weatherization services, which can reduce energy costs.

Swinger noted many utility companies offer flexible payment options and assistance, so he suggested calling them as well. Indiana also has a moratorium on utility shutoffs which runs through March 15.

"The moratorium only applies if the consumer is receiving EAP assistance or if the consumer has gone to the EAP intake office, applied, and the EAP intake office determined that the consumer qualifies for the program and lets the utility know directly," Swinger cautioned.

Swinger encouraged consumers who are concerned they can't afford a heating bill to call their utility right away, or reach out to EAP to ensure they can get the assistance they need before it's too late. The Energy Assistance Program runs through May 14.

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