Indiana Universal Services Fund.
Utility companies and natural gas providers in Indiana have filed for an extension of an assistance program that was designed to help tens of thousands of lower and middle income Indiana residents pay for their heating bills.
The program is known as the the Universal Service Fund, and it was created for customers of Northern Indiana Public Services Co, Vectren Corp., and Citizens Gas.
The natural gas and utility companies across the state have asked the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to expand and also extend the program to run to 2013. Currently it is funded by fees that are tied to gas bills, and those charges range from $4 to $8 per year. Utility companies also provide additional contributions to ensure the program is fully funded.
Last year over 50,000 people across the state received aid last year and cash for paying bills.
While the amount of assistance provided will vary from company to company, most of the customers who are eligible could see reductions of $150 to $470 on their gas and heating bills from November to March of each year. To qualify, a family or individual would have to meet income thresholds, and have a limited income.