Home Consumer resources The winter heating season is here, but it’s not too late to prepare

The winter heating season is here, but it’s not too late to prepare

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor advises the public that it is not too late to prepare for the winter heating season.

The bureau says all consumers should be aware of the tools they can use to ease winter heating bills, with utilities in Indiana and the United States predicting higher energy costs in the coming months.

They gave the following advice and information:

Financial aid

If you need financial assistance, resources are available.

  • The federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists eligible consumers each winter.
  • Consumers without Internet access can call IHCDA toll-free at 1-800-872-0371 for more information about LIHEAP. Consumers who qualify for LIHEAP are also eligible for a Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).
  • Local township administrators provide statewide assistance.
  • Many public services offer their own assistance programs. Help through local charities may also be available.
  • Consumers seeking financial assistance should call 2-1-1, the state’s 24-hour helpline. Indiana 211 can connect you with resources locally.

Billing options and payment plans

All utility consumers, including those protected by the moratorium and/or receiving financial assistance, have a strong incentive to continue paying their heating bills each month, even if they can only make partial payments.

“If you’re behind on your bills or worried about your ability to pay, it’s important to contact your utilities right away to find payment options you can afford,” said Bill Fine, consumer advisor. Indiana public utilities. “If you or someone you know needs help or a payment arrangement, it’s time to seek help now, and not wait.”

In addition to payment terms, many utilities offer budget billing, which provides a consistent monthly payment. The utility sets the monthly amount over a specific period – normally a year – based on the customer’s expected usage. An adjustment is applied in the 12th month, with a credit or balance usually applied to the following year. One of the main benefits of budget billing is that it can provide month-to-month consistency throughout the winter and help consumers avoid the sticker shock they might otherwise experience.

Energetic efficiency

Taking steps to improve a home’s energy efficiency can also help consumers save money.

Now is a great time to schedule a home heating system tune-up and consider other cost-saving measures like changing your HVAC filter regularly, replacing old weatherstripping, and rotating ceiling fans in your home. clockwise during the winter months. The OUCC offers more energy efficiency tips to www.in.gov/oucc/natural-gas/tips-and-publications/reduce-your-winter-energy-bills/.

Additional resources include online home energy audits and specific programs offered by utilities. Learn more about www.in.gov/oucc/featured-topics/winter-bills-faq.

Data report

Eight Indiana electric and natural gas utilities — including five of the state’s six largest energy utilities — agreed to share monthly disconnection and backlog data with the September OUCC 2022 to March 2024. More information is available at www.in.gov/oucc/featured-topics/arrearage-and-disconnection-data-investigationincluding September 2022 data.