Options for struggling Hoosier energy customers

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INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers could see power shut off as early as this weekend as Indiana’s disconnection moratorium ends Friday.

Regulators did not extend it, but they did enforce other requirements.

Some energy companies, like Duke Energy, are voluntarily extending the moratorium.

“The moratorium technically ends this Friday August 14, we are going a month beyond that,” said Duke Energy spokesperson Angeline Protegere. “That said though, we urge customers to contact us and begin setting up a payment plan.”

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is requiring payment plans for a minimum of six months and suspending any additional fees through October 12.

“Customers may start getting notices from us that they are behind on their bills and that they could face disconnection. We ask them not even to wait for that notice though,” said Protegere.

The Indiana Citizens Action Coalition wanted to see more out of the IURC ruling.

“Not only did they not extend the moratorium on shutoffs, they declined to require that utilities report the number of disconnections, which is incredibly troubling,” said ICAC Executive Director Kerwin Olson.

He said that data is crucial to see whether utility rates are affordable and whether Hoosiers have access to energy during this pandemic.

“Furthermore, we are troubled by language in the commission order that says ‘as we transition to the recovery of this pandemic.’ Have they not seen the numbers? We are seeing increases in the number of cases,” said Olson.

Customers at risk of a power shut off are strongly encouraged to contact their provider and use resources like Indiana 211 for help.

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