Providing Energy Assistance
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was created by Congress to help low-income households. This critical program provides federal funding to help natural gas customers who struggle with home energy bills, especially during times of extreme weather.
In March 2011, NiSource joined other utilities, local community action agencies and consumer advocates to take part in LIHEAP Action Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The annual event highlights the importance of LIHEAP as the cornerstone of assistance programs, stressing the need for sustained federal funding.
Nearly 200 participants from across the country canvassed Capitol Hill to urge Congress to maintain funding for LIHEAP at the $5.1 billion level for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. NiSource representatives visited 29 congressional offices serving Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In total, NiSource companies distributed more than $69 million LIHEAP funds during 2011. To assist with a federal funding gap in Indiana, which equated to a shortfall of about 27 percent, we authorized $2.1 million from an expired utility assistance program to be used to help offset the cuts. The additional funds are expected to help approximately 8,000 homes throughout NIPSCO’s service area that would not have received help without these additional funds.