With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting daily life for everyone around the Region, NIPSCO is doing what it can to provide stability for their customers and support to its surrounding community.
Their first point of action was to suspend all shutoffs for nonpayment. Additionally, they are offering customers impacted by or facing hardship from COVID-19 with their most flexible payment plans, in addition to suspending all late fees until June 1.
“We understand that this COVID-19 pandemic has changed how our customers function and operate in their daily lives,” said Violet Sistovaris, NIPSCO President. “With many of our customers required to telework and e-Learn from home, we realize the need for essential necessities – including reliable energy – to fulfill these obligations.”
They are also suspending their in-home energy efficiency programs, such as appliance recycling and in-home energy assessments. Limiting these non-essential services is a precautionary measure aimed at keeping their customers and employees safe.
An unexpected expense families might be experiencing is the increased use of energy with everyone being home at once, for longer periods of time.
NIPSCO offers a wide variety of energy-saving tips that could help lower bills. Even simple things like keeping your cooking range clean, covering liquids in fridges and freezers, and using the right amount of laundry detergent can start making a difference in savings over time.
In the event a NIPSCO employee needs to complete in-person work, they are taking additional precautions such as avoiding handshakes, using additional protective gear like gloves and facemasks, shoe coverings, and disinfectant hand wipes.
“As customers and our own employees adjust to rapid and evolving changes, our incident command team continues to make necessary workforce and resource modifications,” Sistovaris said. “We continue to remain committed to providing safe, reliable energy for our communities and customers.”
In addition to these service and policy changes, NiSource Charitable Foundation, the giving arm of NIPSCO’s parent company NiSource, committed $400,000 to the American Red Cross in Indiana as part of a $1 million nationwide donation to coronavirus relief.
“The health, safety, and well-being of those who live and work within the communities we serve is paramount,” Sistovaris said. “During this increased time of need, it requires strong collaboration, and we know Red Cross can efficiently get these dollars to those who are providing critical care and response.”
NIPSCO is urging customers to be wary of a few items during the duration of the pandemic. The first is that they are seeing a rise in scams related to COVID-19. NIPSCO will never call you directly to ask for account or payment information and will never demand payment through a prepaid debit card.
They also are aware that with the weather warming and with many people stuck at home – some customers are turning to yard work and outdoor projects. Many underground utilities run through residential yards such as electric, gas, water, or telephone lines. NIPSCO is cautioning anyone planning to dig in their yard to call 811 or visit 811now.com to put in a ticket for digging. Local utilities will come out and mark their lines so that you can dig safely. Due to high demand as the weather warms, it’s best to submit your ticket well in advance of digging, so there is time to have your lines marked before you start.
To see all the full details of NIPSCO’s COVID-19 response, visit www.nipsco.com/campaigns/covid-19.