PLAINFIELD, IND. - Duke Energy Indiana customers in need will receive significantly more funds over the next five years to help with energy bills.
The company is contributing $700,000 annually over the next five years for low-income energy assistance as part of Duke Energy's Edwardsport plant regulatory settlement.
In addition, Duke Energy Indiana customers and employees have contributed an additional $100,000 in assistance, raising this year's total to $800,000.
"There's always a demand for energy assistance, but it's especially needed as our economy recovers," said Doug Esamann, president of Duke Energy Indiana. "Over the past decade, our Helping Hand program has provided more than $4 million in assistance to customers in need. This year's funding triples the amount each customer can receive."
Customers who need help paying their electricity bills can receive up to $300 toward their bill if their local Energy Assistance Program agency determines they are eligible based on need and other criteria.
Previously, customers were only eligible for up to $100.
In addition, for at least the next five years, the company is expanding the program to include any Duke Energy Indiana customer who qualifies based on income guidelines. Previously, only low-income customers at least 60 years old or disabled were eligible.
Duke Energy Indiana partners with the Indiana Community Action Association and the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority's Energy Assistance Program, which distributes the company's assistance funds.
If funds are still available by summer, they can also be used for summer cooling bills.
Duke Energy Indiana offers additional programs that can help customers with their bills:
Budget Billing – This program enables customers to avoid bill spikes by providing predictable monthly payments.
Adjusted Due Date – Customers may be able to adjust the due date of their utility bill to a monthly date that meets the timing of their income. This is a popular program with seniors on Social Security.
Indiana Home Weatherization – Income-qualified Duke Energy Indiana customers can receive free home weatherization measures through Energizing Indiana, a united effort of the state's major utilities, including Duke Energy. Professional energy advisors will install multiple energy saving measures during their home visits. For a free home evaluation, contact Energizing Indiana at 1-888-446-7750.
Extended Payment Agreement – Duke Energy can help a customer by establishing an extended payment agreement if the customer qualifies. Customers must first contact the company to see if they are eligible for this free service.
Life Support Program – Duke Energy Indiana offers a Life Support Program for customers who use electrically powered life support equipment.
Third-Party Notification – This program sends a copy of a monthly bill to a friend or relative without holding them responsible for the payment. Paperless Billing accounts are not eligible.
For more information about Duke Energy's programs in Indiana, log on to: http://www.duke-energy.com/indiana.asp.
Duke Energy Indiana's operations provide approximately 6,900 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 790,000 customers, making it the states largest electric supplier.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.