EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – CenterPoint Energy would like to remind customers that Indiana’s winter regulatory moratorium, which temporarily suspends disconnections of customers who meet low-income guidelines and have received federal and state utility heating assistance, expires March 15.
Officials say with the expiration of the moratorium, those customers currently under a disconnect order who have failed to make arrangements with the company will be subject to disconnection.
Ashley Babcock, Vice President, Indiana and Ohio Gas, said, “Throughout the winter heating season, we have been communicating with customers who may be experiencing financial hardships on the options available to manage their accounts. We encourage customers experiencing financial challenges to contact us as soon as they receive a disconnection notice to make arrangements to avoid a disruption in service.”
Centerpoint says customers can choose from the following billing and payment options, as well as energy efficiency programs:
- Energy Assistance Program (EAP)
- State and federal utility assistance dollars are available for income-eligible customers. Those that fall within 60 percent of state median income should visit their local community action agency to sign up for the EAP. To apply for the EAP, customers should call 1-800-872-0371 to locate their nearest community action agency. Customers may also apply any time at the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority website.
- Universal Service Program (USP)
- All eligible natural gas heating customers who apply and qualify for EAP will automatically be enrolled in the USP, which provides additional gas bill reductions that range from 15 to 32 percent of the total bill received, not including EAP benefits, in the months of December through May.
- Due Date Extension and Payment Arrangement
- These are two free offerings which are available to customers in need of a special payment plan on a temporary basis in order to keep service connected and manage energy costs.
- Energy efficiency resources
- CenterPoint Energy offers energy efficiency tips, appliance rebates and energy-saving tools to help customers lower their natural gas bills. All Indiana residential and small commercial natural gas customers are eligible. Visit this website or call 1-866-240-8476 for a list of rebates, qualifying appliances and energy efficiency tips.
- Budget Bill
- Under this billing plan, a customer’s estimated costs for a year of gas service are spread in equal monthly bill amounts for the year. This leveling of monthly bill amounts reduces the need to pay the full amount in the winter and spreads some of those higher bill charges into the non-heating months. Amounts are adjusted each summer for actual costs, and the customer’s credit or amount due rolls into the next Budget Bill payment for the next 12-month period. Customers can enroll for free here or by calling 1-800-227-1376.
Officials say additional resources may be available through the township trustee offices and community partner organizations. Centerpoint says customers who have received a disconnect notice should contact the company at 1-800-227-1376 to make payment arrangements and avoid potential disconnection.