Harsh winter brings high energy bills

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The winter heating season is coming to an end and many in the area are having trouble catching up with their bills.

Spokespeople with NIPSCO and Indiana Michigan Power said April is one of the most difficult months for its customers.

Jill Kinder, Manager of Public Affairs for NIPSCO, said on average, a home paid $30 more than normal in January and February.

“This time of year is the most challenging time because customers are trying to catch up and are opening that last high bill of the season,” said Kinder.

According to Kinder, 15 percent more of its customers have needed assistance. That’s seven percent more in funds.

“There’s definitely a direct correlation between the weather and what customers are seeing on their bills,” said Kinder.

Debbie Thompson has lived in her Fort Wayne home for nine years. She knows about what she’ll pay in electric and gas each month. However, like many this past winter, her bills were double.

“I try to pay 100 dollars because that’s what i have budgeted for this winter if I can, if no other medical stuff comes up,” said Thompson.

Thompson has an electric disconnect notice, for April 16.

“I don’t know, i just guess I didn’t pay enough on that on to keep it and the bill just kept coming and coming.”

She asked her church for help Monday and CANI has stepped in before.

“Usually if they help me in October, they usually I can try to make it through but this year, the bills were a lot higher and I couldn’t, I just couldn’t pay it all.”

Spokespeople from NIPSCO and Indiana Michigan Power want their customers to know that there are options. They recommend calling your electric company first and explain your situation.

Indiana Michigan Power customer line is 1-800-311-4634. It offers an average monthly payment plan, which averages the customer’s monthly bill. Customers have to be current on their bill to register.

NIPSCO offers a budget and payment plan. To reach NIPSCO, call 1-800-4NIPSCO. Low income customers can also contact CANI offices for assistance.

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