Moratorium expires March 15; contact Vectren for special payment - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Moratorium expires March 15; contact Vectren for special payment arrangements

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As the winter heating season comes to a close, Vectren Energy Delivery (Vectren) wants to remind customers that the regulatory moratorium, which prevents utilities from disconnecting customers who meet low-income guidelines and have received federal and state utility heating assistance, will expire on Friday, March 15.

Customers who have received a disconnect notice or, regardless of household income, need bill payment assistance are urged to contact Vectren at 1-800-227-1376 to make payment arrangements and avoid potential disconnection.

"We have a number of programs, resources and payment options in place that can help customers who may be experiencing financial hardship or have found themselves behind on bill payments," said Jon Luttrell, vice president of information technology and customer service. "In light of these challenging economic conditions, we've continued several programs to help Hoosiers manage costs. These include second chance options for those who have previously broken payment arrangements and limited financial assistance for those that do not qualify for state or federal assistance."

Choose from the following free Vectren billing and payment options to help prevent or minimize any potential high-bill issues that often arise during the colder, winter months.

  • Payment Arrangement: Customers who are having difficulty paying bills in full can request a payment arrangement to fulfill the obligation in smaller increments over a set period of time. Eligible customers can request a payment arrangement for free by calling 1-800-227-1376.
  • Energy Assistance Program (EAP):  State and federal utility assistance dollars are still available for income-eligible customers. Those that fall below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines should visit their local community action agency to sign up for EAP. Visit www.incap.org or call 1-800-382-9895 to locate the local community action agency.
  • Universal Service Program: Natural gas customers who qualify for EAP will be automatically enrolled in the Universal Service Program (USP). The USP provides a discount on natural gas bills of eligible low-income customers from December through May.  

Customers are also encouraged to apply for all residential (home or rental) weatherization programs, including programs available through community action agencies and Energizing Indiana, which can be accessed at www.energizingindiana.com or by calling 1-888-446-7750.

Finally, all customers are encouraged to follow a number of free and low-cost energy conservation tips to help reduce gas consumption year-round. Many more tips, including rebates on high-efficiency appliances, can be found at www.vectren.com/conservation or by calling Vectren's Conservation Connection contact center at 1-866-240-8476.

  • Set the thermostat on 68 degrees or lower. Plus, for every 1 degree you lower the thermostat for a sustained, eight-hour period, you could see an additional 1 to 3 percent in savings.
  • Open your curtains during the day to let in the sun. Using the sun's heat can save up to 2 percent in heating costs.
  • Consider installing a new furnace if your unit is more than 15 years old. The furnace is the number one appliance in consuming natural gas, and today's models are up to 97 percent efficient. Vectren offers rebates toward the purchase of new, high-efficient units.
  • Make sure heating/air vents are open and not blocked by curtains or furniture.
  • Close your fireplace damper when not in use to prevent the warm air from escaping.
  • Have your furnace maintained annually by a qualified technician and check your air filter regularly. Having a professional inspection of your heating system on a regular basis will help lower your heating bills 3 to 10 percent as well as maximize the life of your furnace.
  • Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. By changing the direction to clockwise in the winter, the fan will circulate the warm air.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip around your doors and windows to reduce air leakage and save up to 10 percent on heating costs.
  • Consider upgrading your attic and/or wall insulation to save up to 25 percent on heating and cooling costs. Vectren now offers a rebate up to $450 for these services.

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