Photo: Lori SR (Flickr)
Here‘s another sign the economy might be getting better. Vectren says the number of its 680,000 Indiana customers seeking energy assistance has steadily declined since 2009.
Spokesperson Chase Kelley says in 2009, 35,000 customers qualified for energy assistance. She says that number is now down to 22,000. Kelley says last winter more than 23,000 customers qualified for energy assistance and it‘s below 22,000 this year.
Kelley says it‘s a sign that more people are finding work. She says it‘s also due to low natural gas prices.
“You have a little bit of economic recovery, but you also have natural gas bills that are 40 percent lower than they were in the winters of 2008 and 2009 and so that has helped people,” she says.
Kelley says they‘re urging customers who qualified for energy assistance this year to contact Vectren by Friday.
“We do have assistance dollars available but people need to be proactive and call us for help and it‘s a lot easier to do that before you get disconnected because once you get disconnected, you owe us all the back amounts, a reconnect fee, a deposit,” she says.
She says the current moratorium that prevents utilities from disconnecting customers on energy assistance expires March 15th. Customers who‘ve been protected by the program should quickly contact Vectren and make bill payment arrangements.
Kelley says making arrangements is far more preferable to disconnection which incurs a host of fees and other issues that customers might want to avoid.