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Electricity shut off? Winter assistance program ends Wednesday

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Winter Moratorium expired Wednesday, March 15.

This could put many Hoosiers at risk of disconnection.

The statewide federally funded program took effect on December 1, 2022, and impacted AES and other utility company customers, including the nearly 900,000 Duke Energy customers.

Angeline Protogere, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, said households are still obligated to pay the bills, but the idea was to protect vulnerable customers from disconnection during the coldest months of the year.

However, a new program is set to target Duke customers who still may struggle to pay that debt.

“If you’re a Duke Energy customer, you’re coming out of the moratorium and you’re a part of this federally funded energy assistance program, we will automatically enroll you on a six-month interest-free payment plan if you have a balance due that is greater than $50,” Protogere said.

The power company will also provide $300,000 in assistance funds through the statewide community action agencies, known as “Share the Light.”

Duke customers that are not a part of the federally funded program may benefit from another assistance. Protogere explained the power company asked the state utility regulators to approve a 16 percent rate decrease for the months of April, May, and June.

“That would save the average customer about $26 a month,” she said. “We saw soaring fuel costs to produce power in 2022, but now costs are stabilizing.”

Protegere said the most important thing to do if you struggle to pay your electric bill is to contact them directly.