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Moratorium On Winter Utility Disconnects Ends, More People On Payment Plans

A Duke Energy technician disconnecting electricity at a residence due to nonpayment in North Carolina, 2008.

A Duke Energy technician disconnecting electricity at a residence due to nonpayment in North Carolina, 2008. (Ildar Sagdejev/Wikimedia Commons)

Some Hoosiers who get federal assistance with their electric and gas bills may face shutoffs after this week. The state moratorium on winter utility disconnections ends on Monday, March 15.

The winter moratorium only applies to people who either receive help through the Energy Assistance Program or if a local EAP office notified the person's utility that they qualify.

Anthony Swinger is the spokesperson for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor. He said this January more people had bills at least 60 days overdue compared to last year. But fewer people had their power shutoff and a lot more people have set up payment plans with their utility.

“The economic situation is still there. It's not going away — at least it's not going away anytime soon. But there are options to help people and more people are taking advantage of those options," Swinger said.

READ MORE: Indiana Rental Assistance Applications Now Open

Swinger said it’s important that people who are having trouble paying their bills let their utility know so they can make payment arrangements. 

“It's really important for the consumer to step up and do it sooner rather than later. If you have a need or if you think you're going to have a need," he said.

Some renters can get help with their bills through the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. You can also contact Indiana 211 to find local utility assistance providers.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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